II. Texts of statements made and messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 1985
COUNTRY/ORGANIZATION - NAME AND TITLE
A graphic exhibit entitled "Visions from exile", prepared by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was part of the commemorative programme. It was personally opened by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Massamba Sarré, and was displayed for one week. The films "Palestinians Do Have Rights", "The Palestinians of 1983", "Gaza Ghetto", "Under the Israeli Thumb" and "The Key" were screened at the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium throughout the week. No special meetings of the Committee were held at the Trusteeship Council Chamber. The Chairman of the Committee, the Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council, the President of the General Assembly and a member of the Executive Board of the PLO, addressed the meeting, as well as a number of United Nations bodies, intergovernmental organizations and a representative of the International Co-ordinating Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine. Text of messages and statements received from the heads of State or Government, foreign ministers, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO and others are reproduced below.
It is an honour and a pleasure for me to greet His Excellency Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Jaime de Piniés, President of the General Assembly at its fortieth session, and His Excellency Mr. Richard A. Woolcott, President of the Security Council for the month of November. I greet also the chairmen of various United Nations committees and regional groups, and the representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and liberation movements, along with representatives of non-governmental organizations, members of the press and all others who are here today.
The presence of so many distinguished guests at this solemn commemoration is a reflection of the international community's concern at the lack of concrete progress towards a just solution of the question of Palestine and its determination to continue to seek ways to end the tragedy of the Palestinian people.
Thirty-eight years ago today, the General Assembly adopted its resolution 181 (II), entitled "Future government of Palestine", which provided for the creation in Palestine of an independent Arab State and an independent Jewish State and of a special international régime for the city of Jerusalem. That resolution seemed at the time to be the only solution likely to restore peace in the region, but it was implemented only in part. We all know the unhappy events of the following years and the tragic accumulation of violence which has tormented the region since then. The Palestinians have been chased from their lands, dispossessed of their possessions and, first and foremost, deprived of their homeland. Many of them have become refugees, living on international charity, even unto the third generation. Those who have been able to remain at home have endured ceaseless conflict, military occupation, increasingly frequent confiscation of their land and denial of their political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The incomplete implementation of resolution 181 (II) does not mean that it is no longer relevant. Quite the contrary, 38 years ago we made a collective commitment to enable the Palestinian people to achieve self-determination and independence.
The main purpose of today's meeting to commemorate that anniversary is to remind Members of the Organization and the international community at large that this responsibility is still ours, and that new efforts must be made to reach a just and lasting solution of the problem. For our Committee, this anniversary is traditionally a time to take stock of the situation.
This year the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations has given a new dimension to our reflecting on the situation. Day after day we have heard world leaders tell us in the General Assembly of their concern, faced with the dangerous situation in the world today, as well as their hopes and the solutions they envisage for the future. There is hardly a country that has not get the Middle East conflict and the question of Palestine among what it considers to be priority problems requiring immediate and specific measures.
The concerns expressed on all sides and the strong, widespread desire to work towards a solution, surely give the international community a dance to set out on the way leading to a solution to this delicate and complex problem which has stymied us for so long.
One of the undeniable achievements of the United Nations has been its success in bringing the whole international community to acknowledge that the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. Long after the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) there was a genuine fear that the fundamental question of building the Palestinian nation might be swamped by immediate concerns, such as conflicts between States and humanitarian assistance to refugees, and as a result sink into oblivion.
It is, thanks to the efforts of our Organization, as well as the dynamism and determination of the Palestinians and their sense of their own identity, that the question of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is included on the international agenda. It is now generally recognized that there can be no lasting solution to the Middle East conflict without recognition of the Palestinian people's rights and without the participation of those people in any settlement. The rights, which have often been reaffirmed by the General Assembly, include - is there any need to remind anyone of this? - the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, without foreign interference; their right to independence and national sovereignty, including the right to establish their own State in Palestine, and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property or - in the case of those who do not wish to return to their homes - the right to compensation. The right to existence of all the States of the region within secure, internationally recognized borders, is also generally accepted.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which my country has the honour to chair, has adopted a programme for the implementation of those rights, which the General Assembly has approved on a number of occasions by an overwhelming majority. As everyone knows, the apposition of a permanent member has prevented the Security Council from following up the recommendations. Nevertheless, the increasing violence in the region, including the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinian people, which are described in the report that our Committee has just submitted to the General Assembly, show more clearly than ever the urgent need to reach an equitable settlement to the Palestinian problem.
In a statement to the Security Council several weeks ago, I again stressed that the Committee's recommendations were solidly based on internationally recognized basic principles, and I urge the Council to take positive measures to put them into effect, in order to increase the chances of establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
In its programme of work for 1985, the Committee has given top priority to convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, as an objective and specific measure likely to promote the achievement of the desired objective. In the opinion of the Committee, an international conference held under United Nations auspices would provide a legal and political framework acceptable to the vast majority of the international community to enable negotiations to proceed with full respect for universally recognized international principles and with all the parties concerned being on an equal footing.
The primary elements for that conference already exist. They are to be found in the Committee's recommendations, the Arab Fez peace plan, the Jordanian-Palestinian agreement and other sources. It remains for the parties concerned - in particular, those who still have doubts or reservations or who have rejected the idea - to reconsider their position and to work more constructively for the convening of the conference and its success. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate the urgent appeal that I made in the Security Council, urging it not to miss the historic opportunity offered by the current political situation.
In that regard, the Committee has noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General intends to continue his consultations. It has recommended that the General Assembly renew the secretary-General's mandate without delay and ask him to maintain his contacts in order to prepare for the conference, in consultation with the Security Council. I wish to take this opportunity on behalf of the Committee once more to congratulate the Secretary-General on his untiring efforts for peace.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the Committee's determination to continue to intensify its efforts to bring a better knowledge and understanding of the question of Palestine and the Committee's recommendations, as well as the of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, whose first aim is to allow the Palestinian people to recover their inalienable rights and establish peace in the Middle East, taking due account of the legitimate concerns of all the parties to the conflict in the region.
The Committee again stresses that the question of Palestine has reached a critical phase, which makes it necessary that all the interested parties show understanding and co-operation and redouble their efforts to find a just solution to a problem that is fundamental to the maintenance of international peace and security.
The annual observance of this Day is not only a measure of the international community's deep concern for the Palestinian people, but also a reflection of its recognition that a just solution to the Palestinian problem is of overriding importance in striving for a lasting settlement to the Middle East question.
We are all aware that the situation in the Middle East is a very serious one. It not only vitally affects the stability of the region, but could have potential consequences far beyond the region of the Middle East. Despite the great efforts that have been made to find a just and lasting solution to the problem, it continues to be one of the most intractable issues facing the international community.
The Security Council has been closely associated with the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting settlement of the complex issues involved in the Middle East conflict. The Council has been called upon many times to direct its attention to the repeated major crises engendered by the conflict and by their lasting consequences.
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 par ties concerned, including the Palestinian people.
Before concluding, I should like personally to acknowledge the work carried out by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People under the wise, outstanding and dedicated leadership of our friend, Ambassador Massamba Sarré, Permanent Representative of Senegal.
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. JAIME DE PINIES,
PRESIDENT OF THE FORTIETH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The situation in the Middle East profoundly affects the stability of that region, and therefore can also be a threat to international peace and security, affecting not only the parties directly concerned, but also the whole international community.
Accordingly, it is not surprising that the General Assembly has devoted so much time, over a period of several years, to trying to find a just solution to the problem, whose root is the problem of Palestine, and to the need to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. Despite the efforts made, the question of Palestine remains one of the most urgent and difficult problems facing the United Nations.
Nevertheless, we must not slacken our efforts . Too much suffering has occurred as a result of the lack of a just solution to the problem. Failure to find a solution can only exacerbate tension and prolong the suffering. Therefore, our efforts should be aimed at promoting mutual understanding and willingness to undertake a dialogue. To achieve success, it is necessary to create the necessary political will, based on a climate of trust and realism.
All the parties concerned must understand the objective situation - that it is necessary to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and to recognize that all the States of the region have the right to live in peace, within secure, established, guaranteed borders.
In recent years, several initiatives have been undertaken with a view to contributing to the solution of the problem of Palestine. None of them has been universally accepted, but they should encourage us to seek, with even greater dedication, a just, secure and lasting peace in the Middle East. I reiterate what I said at the meeting commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations:
I wish in conclusion to congratulate this Committee and its Chairman, Ambassador Massamba Sarré, on their tireless efforts to promote the solution of this problem. The observance of this Day will inspire hope in the Palestinian people and remind them that the United Nations has not forgotten their inalienable rights.
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. JAVIER PEREZ DE CUELLAR,
SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The conspiracy to expel the PLO from Lebanon was the first act perpetrated by the Israeli Government. It was followed by Israeli terrorism against the PLO personnel, with terrorist acts committed in places as far apart as Cyprus and Lisbon and including the assassination of many of our people in Cyprus, Athens, Italy and Spain. That was accompanied by a concentrated campaign of imprisonment, killing and displacement in the occupied Palestinian territories, in an attempt to suppress the escalating popular revolution.
All of that took place without the mind States regarding those acts as aggression, tyranny or injustice. The Reagan Administration did not consider the aggression against the sovereignty of Lebanon and the destruction of its capital with hundreds of thousands of bombs to be an act of aggression or a violation of the Charter. The assassination of Palestinian scientists, journalists and heroes in European capitals also has not been regarded as international terrorism. As for the mass arrests, the demolition of homes, the firing on demonstrators and the killings without the perpetrators having been brought before the courts, the alienation, the displacement, the changing of the physical, character of certain areas and the threats by the Israeli Government against the people of Palestine and its towns and villages - none of that has been regarded as a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, of 12 August 1949.
Here it is worth mentioning that the policies of terror pursued by the Israeli Government, with the express support of the United States, have been escalated during the past two years every time PLO has expressed its concern about peace and finding a just solution to the problem of Palestine. We are sure, as are many world leaders, and as is clear to world public opinion, that the United States Administration does not like the Palestinian people to hold out the olive branch. It does not like to see the Palestine Liberation Organization refusing to surrender to despair and the denial of international legitimacy, while adhering to United Nations resolutions and the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That was made clear when the United States Administration supported the Israeli aggression against the headquarters of the PLO in Tunisia in October 1985, aggression that violated Tunisia's sovereignty and was aimed at assassinating PLO and aborting the joint Palestinian-Jordanian peace efforts. It was also made clear when the United States intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land at one of its military bases in Italy. It seems as if the United States Administration wants to say, "This is the language that should prevail in the world - the language of piracy, bloody conflict and terror."
That position was clearly exposed when the Reagan Administration turned a deaf ear to the Cairo Declaration made by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO on 7 November 1985. The United States Administration did not respond positively; it even wanted to provoke the leadership of the PLO into renouncing the Declaration eventually. However, that did not happen, because the policy of the PLO will not be dictated by such a reaction or the provocations of the United States Administration, or Israeli terror. Its policy will always be based on confidence, good judgement, sound reason and commitment to the principles of the United Nations and human rights, acceptance of United Nations resolutions and concern about the shedding of innocent blood and about peace in the Middle East and in the world at large. Its policy will always stem from a feeling of the highest responsibility towards the interests of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation, which means the liberation of Palestinian and other Arab territories from Israeli occupation.
We will not be overcome by blind terror. We will not simply react to events. We will not surrender to the pressure of those who want to make us a card in other people's hands. We will not allow despair to prevail, because the PLO wishes to continue to be a worthy leader of its people, which has made heroic sacrifices in the face of the strongest forces of occupation, racism and tyranny. The PLO wishes to remain a worthy upholder of the principles of the Arab nation and the Non-Aligned Movement in defending the right of its people and of all other oppressed peoples to self-determination, sovereignty, security, peace and prosperity.
On this solemn occasion, at a time of complicated, difficult circumstances, involving plans, conspiracies, risks and attempts at annihilation and genocide, I declare that our people will go on holding out the olive branch, while struggling by force of arm, by demonstrating and by striking to liberate their land and regain their right to self-determination, the establishment of their own State and the return of the displaced people, while declaring their commitment to the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also declare that we insist on the implementation of all the Mated Nations recommendations and resolutions affirming the need for the United Nations to play a constructive role in supervising an international conference to discuss the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict generated by it. Such a conference would provide an adequate framework. Participants should include the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States and the other permanent members of the Security Council, the States concerned and the PLO.
In conclusion, I should like to recall an event that has caused me great suffering. I am referring to the recourse by Mr. Reagan and his Administration to throwing the entire weight of United States power into the balance in order to prevent me from addressing the General Assembly at its fortieth session and to make my statement on behalf of the Palestinian people from the rostrum. I personally - and there are many who share my opinion - view this as further proof that the President of a State that calls for democracy, freedom of opinion and expression and human rights, a President who claims to be trying to assist those who are ready to accept the olive branch being extended to them by the Palestinian hand, is nevertheless suppressing the voice of peace, justice and right. I am confident that preventing me from addressing the United Nations, which was preceded by an attempt to assassinate me in the recent raid on Tunis, will not stop me from continuing the struggle with my suffering people to reach a lasting and durable peace. I am hopeful that our struggle will continue to enjoy your support and solidarity until our victory is won.
I should like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, both personally and on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as on behalf of the Palestinian people, for commemorating this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and with their struggle to attain their legitimate rights. I once again express the hope that the international community will co-operate constructively so that the United Nations may regain credibility and prove itself able to play a positive political role in the solution of the complicated international problems in the world, including those of the Palestinian people.
It has become an established fact the question of guaranteeing the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people constitutes the core of any Middle East settlement. The tragic events in that region have confirmed the fact that there can be no lasting peace and stability in the Middle East unless the Palestinian people are guaranteed the opportunity to exercise their legitimate rights usurped by Zionist Israel. It is regrettable to note that, owing to Israel's permanently aggressive and expansionist policy, which enjoys the full backing of United States imperialism, the Palestinian people are still being denied their inalienable rights and that the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated further.
The overt and covert support of the ruling circles in the United States provides encouragement for their Zionist ally in its policy of perpetuating its colonial domination over the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories and its defiance of the demands of the international community.
The people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan vigorously condemn Israel for its continuing occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories and the United States for its all-round support of Israel's expansionist, aggressive and colonialist policies.
While the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan supports the continued efforts of the United Nations to find a just and comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem, it believes that an early convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, with the participation of the PLO, which is the demand of the overwhelming majority of nations, would be able to bring a durable peace to the long-suffering Palestinians and other Arab peoples living under Israeli occupation rule. We are convinced that the six-point proposal of the Soviet Union, Put forward on 29 July 1984, for the peaceful settlement of the Middle East problem could serve as a realistic basis for such an international conference.
I should like once again to reiterate our firm support for and solidarity with the Palestinian and Arab peoples struggling against the inhuman policies of zionism and imperialism. It is our conviction that the Palestinian people will finally be victorious.
Given the resistance of the heroic Palestinian people, in the occupied Arab territories, the Zionist occupier is redoubling its violence in carrying out its policy of repression against the Palestinian people and obstinately pursuing the policy of colonization, intimidation and Zionisation of Arab lands in order to rid the occupied Arab territories of their legitimate inhabitants and accelerate the process of annexation of those territories.
This policy of repression and fait accompli is accompanied by a veritable campaign of genocide conducted against the Palestinian people wherever their exile has led them, even to the Maghreb, as has been seen by the recent act of armed aggression carried out against a sovereign country, the sister Republic of Tunisia.
The international community is today celebrating two anniversaries: the founding of the United Nations and its adoption a quarter of a century ago of the historic Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. In these circumstances, the Organization has a particular responsibility and, with a view to bringing to an end the four decades of suffering and sorrow of the Palestinian people, it must bring about the exercise by chose people of their inalienable legitimate national rights.
The framework for a just and lasting settlement of the problem of the Middle East has been clearly defined by the United Nations: the convening of an international peace conference in the Middle East in which all parties to the conflict, including the PLO as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, should participate on an equal footing. All efforts of the international community should accordingly be focused on the convening of that conference. the occasion of the commemoration of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, let me reaffirm, on behalf of the Algerian Government and people, Algeria's complete solidarity with and firm support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people to recover their freedom and exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and their right to return and to create their own independent State in Palestine, and for the triumph of freedom, peace and justice in the Middle East.
Israel continues to launch repeated attacks on Lebanon, and in so doing it has aroused the fury of world public opinion and once more exposed its aggressive intentions towards the Palestinian people wherever they may be, whether within or outside the usurped territories. We firmly believe that the Palestinian question can be solved only through full and complete recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people. We are confident that the usurped Arab rights will inevitably be regained and that justice will inevitably prevail.
On the basis of its full. belief in the right of peoples to self-determination in keeping with the principles contained in the Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations, Bahrain today reaffirms its full and absolute solidarity with the just and legitimate struggle waged by the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the PLO, its sole, legitimate representative. Bahrain calls upon the international community to exert every effort to resolve this question justly and in a manner that will enable the Palestinian people to regain their usurped rights and put an end to Israel's continued aggression, which has been going on for more than 38 years and seriously threatens international peace and security.
In conclusion I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the Committee for the efforts being made towards regaining the rights of the Palestinian people, and wish you all success in your noble humanitarian task.
H.E. Lieutenant-General Hussain Muhammad Ershad,
President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
It is now universally recognized that the question of Palestine is at the core of the problem in the Middle East. The present explosive situation in the Middle East is a direct consequence of a historic injustice, when the Palestinian people were forcibly uprooted from their hearths and homes and an alien people were imposed on the Arab world through the creation of Israel. No other issue in contemporary history has evoked so much thought and unleashed such intense indignation as this issue - and yet this tragic problem remains unsolved.
The United Nations, after a great deal of deliberation, accepted the political entity of the Palestinian people and their rights to establish a State of their own in their homeland, This right is also based on the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as well as international law and jurisprudence. The developments of the last four decades have demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that it is not possible to bring about just and lasting peace in the Middle East unless the legitimate and inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people are fully restored.
Bangladesh, on the basis of its firm and principled position on the issue, has made sincere and persistent efforts to uphold the just cause of the Palestinian people in all international forums, especially the United Nations. We are firmly and irrevocably committed to support oppressed people all over the world who are waging a just struggle to free themselves from the bondage of colonialism and racism. It is our sincere hope that the international community, on the historic occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, will make a determined effort to achieve early realization of the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.
I also take this opportunity to convey our deep appreciation to Mr. Massamba Sarré, the Chairman, and the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for their sincere and tireless efforts for the cause of the Palestinian people.
We also with to reiterate our condemnation of the acts of oppression and aggression perpetrated by the Zionist régime, which have resulted in the death and suffering of thousands of Palestinian people and forced them to seek refuge in the neighbouring countries, leaving behind their own property and homeland.
We recognize that there cannot be a lasting and just peace in the Middle East without the total and unconditional withdrawal of the Israelis from all the Arab and Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and that a just and lasting peace can be achieved only on the basis of the genuine exercise by the Palestinian people, under the leadership of their legitimate representative, the PLO, of their inalienable right to return to their homes, their right to self-determination without foreign interference and their right to establish their own independent and sovereign State in their national territory.
Recent events in the Arab East have confirmed that the Palestinian cause is, and will always be, the crux of the conflict in the Middle East. Recognition of the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people is the only way to establish and safeguard a just and comprehensive peace that will give security and stability to all. The participation of the Palestinian people, the party directly concerned, through its recognized legitimate representative, the PLO, together with other interested parties in the peace efforts is indispensable for the achievement of a just, stable and lasting peace.
We believe that the first requirement for a peaceful settlement is to allow the Palestinian people to implement their right to self-determination and establish their own State on their own territory. It is impossible to imagine movement in efforts to achieve settlement without the participation of the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Egypt has always sought to speed up the efforts to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, securing the legitimate rights of all the parties concerned. We believe that the best way to achieve that aim is to convene an international conference with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the PLO, which we insist should be allowed to play a role and shoulder its responsibility. In that connection, we believe that a solid basis for Arab moves is the joint Palestinian-Jordanian position crystallized in the 11 February 1985 accord, which is supported by all the Arab countries directly involved, led by Egypt. One of the basic conditions for the success of any Arab efforts is the maintenance of solidarity between Jordan and the PLO.
The choice of peace through international legitimacy as an objective of the Palestinian people was again affirmed in the Cairo Declaration issued by the leadership of the PLO on 7 November 1985, which we regard as a historic international document that should receive detailed attention by all parties. We call upon the international community to resist all efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the PLO and its recognized leadership, to distort its image or to deny its right to resist by all legitimate means.
We look forward to the United Nations, through the Security Council, playing an effective role in preparing seriously and properly for an international peace conference on the Middle East to settle the problem. We have full confidence in your personal support, Sir, and the support of your Committee for those efforts in defence of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, in order that that vital area of the world may move forward to an era of security, stability and long-awaited just peace. May your path be peaceful.
H.E. Mr. Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central
Committee of the Socialist Unity Party and Chairman of the
Council of State of the German Democratic Republic
No one can wish away the Palestinian cause; nor can we ignore the plight of the whole Palestinian people whose very nationhood is under constant attack. at is necessary is a renewed determination to break the unending cycle of hostilities that has caused five destructive wars over the course of the past four decades.
There have been too many missed opportunities for progress in the past, and the time is here and now to seize the opening offered by the international peace conference. For its part Indonesia stands ready to contribute to any plan acceptable to our brothers, the Arab nations, which will assure the Palestinians their right to freedom and independent statehood on their own land.
May God mighty bestow His blessings and guidance on all of us.
H.E. Mr. Sayed Ali Khamanei,
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
We also call upon you to support the PLO, the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people, and to stand at its side in the face of acts of aggression and piracy carried out by the Zionist entity, as evidenced by the recent act of aggression against Tunis and the headquarters of the PLO in Tunisia.
The whole world is aware that the Arab positions are characterized by a positive desire and responsible spirit and look forward to a just and durable solution to the Palestinian question and the Middle East crisis. However, those positions are not matched by a serious response to achieve the peace, justice and stability to which we aspire.
On this occasion we reaffirm our principled and consistent position in support of PLO as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We also underline our support for its legitimate leadership against all conspiracies and attempts at dividing the Palestinian people and liquidating the Palestinian cause. This position is based on our sincere belief in the justice of the Palestinian people's struggle and the importance of reaching a just and durable peace.
In conclusion, I am pleased to affirm our pride in the efforts made by the Committee for the sake of the Palestinian people and their cause, and we wish it every success in all its endeavours.
His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
In the light of the serious increase in violence and extremism, and in view of the fact that the situation in the region is unchanged and indeed continues to threaten world peace and stability, we appeal to the international community to join in our efforts and express its active political will to implement United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine, in order to establish international legitimacy, based on justice and equity, thus assuring the rights and interest of all parties to the conflict.
It is my hope that the international community will not miss this historic opportunity to establish at last a just and durable peace in the Middle East, and that efforts will be commensurate with potential to achieve that noble objective. Let us be faithful to the principles of the United Nations justice, freedom and peace. Long may the principles prevail.
His Highness Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait
We add our voice to all peoples that cherish freedom, justice and right. At the same time, we urge the international community, including the super-Powers, to give the matter the appropriate attention and make concerted effort is to help those people regain their inalienable and legitimate rights and to realize their national hopes end aspirations, by supporting their legitimate struggle to achieve self-determination, sovereignty and independence in their territory and country, which have been usurped.
Some 40 years have passed since the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people, a catastrophe unprecedented in history. One cannot but be perplexed by the fact that no progress has been made on the problem in all that time; those who have tried to resolve it have seemed to stumble around in a maze. One wonders why the United Nations has failed to secure implementation of its resolutions and how long the aggressors will continue their oppressive policy, based on the status quo. After usurping the largest and most fertile part of the land, they occupied the remainder. Today they are confiscating most land, constructing illegal settlements, monopolizing water sources and controlling the economy and the lives of the people. The many acts perpetrated by the aggressors include the exile, deportation, killing and mistreatment of innocent people, the demolition of houses, the closing of schools and universities and even the destruction of the image of those people in the eyes of the world,
It is anomalous that all this should be occurring under the watchful eye of the United Nations and the great Powers, on whose shoulders rests the responsibility for the protection and maintenance of world peace and security and human rights. The aggressors who are in flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the Geneva Conventions on human rights and dignity, have neither been deterred nor punished. What, indeed, has become of the human rights of these people? Do human rights apply only in the case of Jewish immigration to Palestine from all over the world, while that land's rightful owners, those whose lands have been usurped and who have been expelled from their homeland and dispersed, those who have lost their freedom and dignity, find that their human rights are totally ignored? In the meantime, the aggressor has continued to receive full support from the great Powers and been encouraged in its arrogance - something which has added to the complexity of the problem and created a stumbling-block for the implementation of United Nations resolutions.
Yet we do not lose hope that the world as a whole, and the great Powers in particular, will come to realize that the prudent course is for it to bear its international responsibilities and adopt a balanced and unbiased stand on the side of truth and justice in support of the cause of the Palestinian people and in working towards the solution of the Middle East problem. In our opinion, the best method to achieve tangible results in this respect is the convening, under international auspices, of a conference in which all the parties concerned - including the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people - will participate.
Last but not least, we look forward with optimism to seeing the sun of justice shine over that region of the world, and over the world as a whole. May the banner of indivisible peace be raised and security, stability and prosperity prevail, and may your path be one of peace.
H.E. Mr. Souphanouvon, President of the
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Those policies and practices are being intensified daily, even in Lebanese territory, part of which is still occupied by Zionist troops. We joined the rest of the international community in condemning the Zionist air raid at the beginning of last month on Tunisia and Palestinian civilians living there. That premeditated Zionist act of aggression would not have been possible without the blessing and comprehensive and unconditional support given to Israel by its imperialist protectors. It is highly desirable that during this session commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations the international community should do everything possible to ensure that the long-suffering Palestinian people may exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to create an independent State in Palestine.
Moreover, since the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, it is essential that, as was suggested in the Declaration of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held in Geneva two years ago, there be convened under United Nations auspices an international peace conference on the Middle East, with the participation on an equal footing of all the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the PLO, the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the other interested States, so as to find a definitive solution to the problem.
The Government and people of the Lao People's Democratic Republic wish to reaffirm their unwavering support for, and total solidarity with, the heroic struggle waged by the Palestinian people, under the firm leadership of the PLO, for the triumph of their just and noble cause.
The Lebanese people, as well as all others who live in Lebanon, are subject without any discrimination to the authority of the legitimate Government. Therefore, Lebanon can never accept that anyone who lives in Lebanon is outside the framework of that legitimacy or that any part of its territory would not be under the control of the Lebanese State.
For decades Lebanon has dealt with the Palestinians in Lebanon the way one brother deals with another. The Lebanese people have shared with the Palestinian people their sadness and joy in all circumstances, and we are still suffering with them in tragic circumstances. It is no wonder that the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples stand together, side by side, against those who try to occupy Lebanon.
Lebanon reaffirms on every occasion its commitment to the just Palestinian question, namely that of a people deprived of the fundamental right enshrined in international law and emphasized by successive resolutions adopted by the United Nations.
The fact that Lebanon is taking great care of the Palestinian people stems from our commitment. Lebanon has supported the call for the holding of an international peace conference aimed at putting an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people, restoring their dignity and ensuring their rights of return, self-determination and the establishment of a sovereign independent State on their national soil. Lebanon will always endeavour to achieve those objectives.
The tragedy of the Palestinian people - deprived of their rights, stripped of their possessions, driven from their homeland - is an outrage to the universal conscience. Despite the efforts of the international community, the Zionist régime continues to occupy Arab and Palestinian territories and to pursue its policy of aggression.
Madagascar is extremely concerned at the evolution of the situation in that region of the world, which is taking a dangerous turn, with the proliferation of plots from every side. At a time when the struggle of the Palestinian people has reached a difficult, if not crucial, stage, we should like to reassure them of the most complete support of the Malagasy people and their revolutionary leadership.
The establishment of a lasting peace in the Middle East depends upon the just settlement of the question of Palestine, which is at the heart of the Middle East problem.
Those two problems form an indivisible whole and cannot be dealt with separately. There can be no question of a partial peace, and any agreement that does not take into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people or that is concluded without the participation of the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, cannot be deemed valid.
Peace must be global and based on respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to return, the right to self-determination free from foreign interference and the right to establish an independent and sovereign State, and on the total and unconditional withdrawal from all Arab and Palestinian occupied territories, including Jerusalem. In this connection, Madagascar continues to support the recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
We wish to reiterate our tribute to that Committee for its important contribution to the search for a just solution to the question of Palestine.
The plight of the Palestinians today is one of the tragedies of history. Few peoples have been more systematically brutalized, oppressed or humiliated in their own lands. We in Seychelles have always had great admiration for their courage and heroic struggle in their quest for self-determination, independence and a homeland of their own.
It is our fervent hope that the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations will serve to make the international community more aware that no comprehensive solution in the Middle East will be achieved without an approach based on the recognition of the realities of the Palestinian right to an independent State and the right of all States in the region to exist in peace and security within internationally recognized and secure borders.
On this momentous occasion, I would like to reiterate our assurances that my country will continue to give its unflinching support to the Palestinian people under the wise leadership of the PLO, its sole and legitimate representative, in their quest for their inalienable rights for the sovereignty of their nation and integrity of their territory.
Thailand opposes any act contrary to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. We therefore reject the use of force by any State as a means of imposing its will on others, and support the legitimate demand that the Arab territories occupied since 1967 must be returned.
Any comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the problem must be based on the relevant United Nations resolutions. The Palestinian people must be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.
Since its inception in 1975, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 33/76, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has zealously devoted itself to finding a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian problem. Apart from the intrinsic value of the Committee's reports, the fact that the Committee continues to perform its functions with dedication demonstrates the need for continued support by the international community.
The Royal Thai Government would like to urge all parties concerned to revitalize the peace process so that a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian problem can be achieved. The settlement must encompass the legitimate rights and aspirations of all concerned parties. To that end, a climate of confidence and under standing and a true spirit of compromise among all parties must be nurtured and enhanced.
In expressing my Government's full support for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, I cannot help but recall that there are peoples elsewhere, in Asia and in Africa, which continue to be the victims of foreign aggression and occupation. They too deserve the sympathy and support of the international community.
It is no secret that Israel, through its aggressive practices, its deliberate, continuous attempts to liquidate the cause of the Palestinian people and obliterate its identity, and its continuous disregard of the will of the international community, is dragging the region to the brink of a very dangerous situation, one in which there could be an explosion if no deterrent action is taken to ensure its compliance with the will of the international community and to bring about the just and lasting solution the question needs.
The fact that the celebration of the Day coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations gives the international community an opportunity to gain a fresh awareness of the continuous disregard of its resolutions and initiatives on the matter, resulting from Israel’s intransigence, its gunboat diplomacy and its denial to the Palestinian people of one of the most basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations — their inalienable right to self-determination. In continuously defying the United Nations as it tries to respond to the aspirations of the States and peoples of the world and to realize the hopes they have pinned on it to make a reality of those aspirations, Israel has also contributed greatly to undermining the prestige and credibility of the international Organization. Therefore, it is essential to stand firmly against Israeli policies of aggression, invasion and intimidation if the region is to enjoy tranquility and stability.
On various occasions the United Nations has asserted that no just and durable peace can be achieved in the Middle East without Israel’s complete and unconditional withdrawal from all the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Holy Jerusalem; enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and return to their homes and properties; and establishing an independent and sovereign State on their national soil under the leadership of the PLO, their sole, legitimate representative.
The convening in 1983 of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in Geneva reaffirmed those objectives and the framework in which they could be achieved. The principles laid down by that Conference will remain a sound basis for the just and durable peace to which the international community aspires.
The Sudanese people, through their historic revolution in April 1985, reaffirm their unswerving support for the cause of the Palestinian people the Sudanese Government puts the question of Pales tine at the top of its list of preoccupations, and the Sudanese people renew their firm resolve to stand at the side of the Palestinian people until they realize their aspirations under the leadership of the PLO, their sole, legitimate representative.
We take this opportunity to express the Sudan’s appreciation of and support for the efforts made by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and trust that the commemoration of this Day this year will lead to the realization of our cherished objectives.
This week, on 29 November, the international community observes this Day only a few weeks after Israel's barbarous act of aggression against Tunisia. A peaceful country 2,500 kilometres away was attacked by Israel. In so doing Israel once again showed that it was resolved not to give up its policy of aggression against Arab peoples, particularly the Palestinian people, which it continues to hunt down, persecute and plunder. The Israeli attack is only one link in a chain of reprehensible acts designed to liquidate the just use of the Palestinians - acts the international community has unequivocally condemned.
Tunisia is convinced that, without firm collective action by the United Nations and its Charter, the relevant resolutions and the principles of international law will continue to be flouted to the detriment of international peace and security.
The resurgence of tension in the Middle East, the Israeli attempt to extend the area of conflict and its inhuman policies and practices that are the daily lot of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories are so many irrefutable demonstrations of Israel's contempt for the most elementary moral principles on which human rights, international law and the human conscience rest.
We are convinced that the responsibility for taking firm action to make Israel listen to reason falls principally upon the international community which, under the Charter, is given special responsibility for re-establishing peace and justice. Since we are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations this year, we have reason to hope that a surge of human solidarity is within the realm of possibility and that such injustice will not continue indefinitely.
For its part, Tunisia reaffirms its conviction that the problem of Palestine is at the heart of the grave situation in this sensitive region of the Middle East and that the Palestinian people, deprived of their elementary rights, are its central element. Any comprehensive solution of the Middle East conflict must necessarily focus on this aspect of the problem.
In this connection we emphasize that the Fez plan, based on United Nations legality, provides realistic foundations for a lasting and just solution of the problem. We reiterate our support for that plan; and we maintain that any solution, including recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of their own State acceptable to their legitimate representative should not only be duly considered but, above all, be supported by appropriate action on the part of the international community.
Despite the obstacles and challenges, the United Nations is duty-bound to persevere in the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the problem. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is on the right path. We wish it all success.
I am happy to note that there is growing support and sympathy in the world community for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. In this respect, I wish to commend the efforts made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to promote wider awareness on the question of Palestine.
Turkey believes that the recognition of all the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, is a prerequisite for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East. Furthermore, it is our firm conviction that no settlement of the question can be found unless Israel withdraws from the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem. We support all peace initiatives to that end. In this context, we welcome the Jordan-PLO accord of 11 February 1985 as an important step and opportunity towards achieving peace in the Middle East. I should like to mention he with appreciation the constructive role played by the PLO, under the able leadership of Chairman Yasser Arafat in reading that accord. I am confident that, with the increasing understanding and support of the international community, as well as with the unity in their ranks, the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the PLO, will succeed in achieving the realization of their legitimate aspirations.
On this occasion l should like to convey to the valiant Palestinian people the warm feelings and sincere wishes of the people and the Government of Turkey for the early success of their just struggle.
I wish also to express our support for the methods used in the work towards the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to return to their home and their right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State on their national territory of Palestine.
Today, 29 November, has been designated as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. That is particularly important this year because 1985 is the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations itself. Either of those two commemorations would be meaningless without the other: in effect, the question of Palestine was brought into being by the Organization and has accompanied it on every step of its history.
Unfortunately, it has also been a basic challenge to the credibility of the Organization and to its ability to render justice to peoples who have been the victims of injustice and oppression, foremost among them the Palestinian people, who have been uprooted from their country and deprived of their homes and who today are suffering under the physical and psychological domination of the Zionist entity, supported by the forces of evil and aggression.
It is up to the United Nations to render justice to oppressed peoples and enable peoples like the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights and at long last to establish an independent State of their own.
In keeping with the principles of the Charter and the numerous resolutions adopted by this Organization, it is the natural role of the international community as represented in the United Nations to exert political pressure on the Zionist entity to terminate its aggression against the Palestinian people and make it withdraw all its troops from all the occupied Arab territories and finally allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right of self-determination.
While firmly supporting the Committee's efforts to convene an international conference on peace in the Middle East, with the Palestinian question as its essence, we continue to believe that if States, especially major Powers, do not reconsider their policy of supporting Israel - a country which relies on domination by force - it will be very difficult to reach a general understanding and consequently a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine that would enable the Palestinian people to exercise its legitimate rights.
With that goal in mind, the United Arab Emirates, as a Government and as a people, will continue its support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the recovery of their rights and freedom, the liberation of their country, and the establishment of an independent State on their own territory under the auspices of the PLO.
Instigated and supported by the imperialist and other reactionary forces and in defiance of the strong protest of the world public, the Israeli authorities have been persisting in their policy of aggression and expansion against the Arab peoples, continuing their acts of terrorism and massacre against the Palestinians, dividing the Arab peoples and undermining their unity in an attempt to impede the just struggle of the Palestinian people for their sacred inalienable national rights.
More seriously, the Israeli authorities recently staged a savage air raid against the headquarter of the PLO in Tunis, which constitutes a flagrant act of aggression against Tunisia and Palestinian patriotic forces, a gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, an insolent challenge to public opinion in the Arab countries, and to peace- and justice-loving peoples the world aver.
The people and the Government of Viet Nam strongly condemn the criminal acts of the Israeli authorities and reaffirm their consistent support for the staunch and courageous struggle of the Palestinian people for their sacred inalienable national rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to return and set up an independent Palestinian State in their homeland. We support the convening of an international conference on the Middle East with the participation of the parties concerned, including PLO, and consider it the most appropriate way to find a solution to the Middle East problem.
We are firmly convinced that, with the strong support of the Arab peoples and peace- and justice-loving peoples throughout the world, the Palestinian people, single-minded and united, are bound to achieve final victory.
The General Assembly resolution in which it was decided to commemorate this day every year as an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a demonstration of international support for the struggle of the fraternal Palestinian people to restore all their usurped rights and liberate all their territories occupied by Israel. Your meeting today, which represents a great human demonstration, is clear evidence that the principles of the Charter of the United Nations are still vibrant and alive, despite the arrogance and tyranny of the Zionist colonialist forces in Palestine and elsewhere today. Yet the continuation of the Palestinian cause without a just solution for four decades and the results of the continued struggle of the Palestinian people, steadfast in their stand, constitute one of the great challenges faced by the United Nations and a real test of its effectiveness and respect for it. It is not surprising that the plight of the Palestinian people grows worse with the passage of time, moves the conscience of peoples everywhere and exposes the lip-service paid by many throughout the world in their so-called sympathy with the Palestinians in their struggle against Zionist colonialists.
Israel is foolish to think that all its military power and all the material benefits and strength it gains through killing and uprooting people and through establishing its settlements will be able to crush the Palestinian struggle and eliminate the Palestinian cause. History is always on the side of peoples, and the victory of legitimacy is inevitable.
On this annual occasion, Yemen takes the opportunity to reaffirm its principled commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO, its sole, legitimate representative, for the restoration of all its national territory and rights, including the right to establish an independent State.
Finally, it is our hope that today's meetings will be the starting point for consolidating support for the Palestinian people and its unflagging heroic struggle to liberate its country from colonialism and Zionist occupation and to exercise its national prerogatives and self-determination.
I wish to convey the greetings of my people as well as my personal regards. I look forward to the victory of the steadfast Palestinian people and wish the Committee every success in its efforts.
It has been evident for a long time that there can be no comprehensive and lasting solution to the Middle East crisis without a just solution of the Palestinian question. This question must be considered as the core of the solution, as the very essence of the crisis, which has been causing disruptions in the region for years, which has inflicted enormous human losses and destruction, the consequences of which are suffered by the innocent Palestinian people and affect all other Naples in that part of the world - a crisis that poses a permanent threat to international peace and security.
However, by its aggressive and expansionist policy, which Israel continues brutally and persistently, to deny the fundamental rights of that people, it continues illegal construction of the settlements on the occupied territories, mass arrests, torture, forcible transfer and expulsion of the Palestinians. In a word, Israel, despite the broadest international condemnation of such acts and of the policy of fait accompli, is trying to legalize the annexation of the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied by the use of force and to break the resistance of the Palestinian people It does not even shrink from the most brutal methods and forms of State terrorism, as was the case with the recent attack on the headquarters of the PLO in Tunisia, which constituted a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of that peace-loving, non-aligned country, the most fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law and code of conduct.
Therefore, a just and ting solution to the Middle East crisis and the right of all peoples and countries of the region to independent and secure development must be ensured on the basis of the unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all Arab and Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 war and subsequently, including Jerusalem. The solution must be based on the realization of inalienable Palestinian rights: the right to return to their homeland, the soil from which they were expelled; the right to freedom and self-determination; and the right to the establishment of their own State on their national soil.
Together with other non-aligned countries, Yugoslavia has always supported the United Nations as the most appropriate framework for a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian question and the Middle East crisis, believing that they should be salved on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Understandably, the equal participation of PLO, the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in all the efforts, negotiations and conferences where the destiny of the Palestinian people is decided is of crucial importance.
It is high time for the international community to stop the policy and practice of State terrorism, which prolongs the suffering of one people and jeopardizes the others. Urgent, concrete measures should be taken in order to enable the Palestinian people to realize their inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations. The immediate actions which are before the United Nations must include mandatory sanctions in order to compel Israel finally to abandon its aggressive policy and respect the decisions adopted by this world Organization.
We are deeply convinced that the Palestinian people will persevere in their just struggle for national liberation. In that, I repeat, they can count, as they have done so far, on the most resolute support of the peoples of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In view of this, I avail myself of the opportunity to extend to the Palestinian people, through this United Nations Committee, whose efforts and activity we highly appreciate, our best wishes.
Ever since the question of Palestine was pit on the agenda of the United Nations, the General Assembly and the Security Council have adopted numerous resolutions with a view to bringing an end to the conflicts and disputes that have characterized the Middle East region. All the resolutions have, however, to date been dead letters because Israel has ignored them with impunity. In the meantime Israel has not only continued its illegal occupation of Arab territories, but has forcibly annexed expropriated Arab settlements and exported a reign of terror in the region. The tragic bombing by Israel of the offices of the PLO in 1985 once again brought home with poignant intensity the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the urgent need to seek a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.
The requisite components for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East are well known. They were restated through the Arab peace initiative of September 1982 at Fez, Morocco. Zambia fully supports those components as a basis for the solution to the Middle East crisis.
For some time now, the United Nations has repeatedly called for an international peace conference on the Middle East as a machinery to translate the foregoing principles into concrete action. It is Zambia's conviction that such a conference could be a first step to end the cycle of violence and bloodshed that have characterized the Middle East over the past 40 years. We therefore reaffirm our support for the proposed conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations and to be attended by all the interested par ties, including the PLO, which should participate on an equal footing.
I wish, in conclusion, to commend the Committee for its untiring and selfless efforts in the search for a permanent solution to the question of Palestine. I wish also to register Zambia's solidarity with the people of Palestine in their valiant struggle for justice and human dignity in an independent Palestine.
Argentina, which each year has taken part in the observances on this date in order to express its support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, wishes to underscore its heartfelt desire for a negotiated settlement of the Middle East question.
Our country believes it to be of the utmost importance for any settlement of the question to take duly into account the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, as well as the pertinent United Nations resolutions. That will make a peaceful, just and lasting settlement of the matter possible, one that respects the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, independence and the establishment of its own State.
Argentina recognizes that respect for the rights of the Palestinian people lies at the heart of the solution to the problem in the region. It likewise recognizes the right of the PLO, as the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in all action, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East conducted under United Nations auspices, on an equal footing with the other parties concern.
Our country also attaches particular importance to the need to terminate the Israeli presence in the Arab and Palestinian territories occupied by force, and it considers null and void the administrative acts of the Israeli authorities in those territories.
With regard to the city of Jerusalem and in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 303 (IV), we support the recognition of a special régime for the city. The eternal mission of Jerusalem is to preserve peace and understanding among men, in accordance with the message that came forth from Jerusalem. Let us join forces in seeking the complete and effective protection of the Holy City and the preservation of its historic essence and its cultural heritage, which belongs to all religions.
Repudiating violence as a means of settling international disputes and judging the acquisition of territories by force to be inadmissible, the Argentine Republic condemned the military action taken in October 1985 against the Palestinians located south of the city of Tunis, as well as the terrorist act directed against the Italian passenger ship, the Achille Lauro.
Such occurrences provide new evidence of the need to promote conditions conducive to dialogue and negotiation with a view to the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
Our country has expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian people within the United Nations, within the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and, in general, in diverse international forums. It also contributes to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as a way of assisting refugees from Palestine. On this Day, lastly, it reiterates its hope that the Palestinian people may come to occupy their rightful place within the international community, in peaceful coexistence with the other countries of the region.
The Middle East problem, along with its Palestinian dimension, dates from the very first years of the existence of the United Nations.
Greece has always strongly supported the task of the Organization and emphasized the role it can play on the basis of the existing resolutions the General Assembly and of the Security Council for the settlement of the Palestinian issue, which is already long overdue.
The long-awaited and still pending settlement of the Palestinian question, in conjunction with the most recent events in the Middle East, clearly shows that there cannot possibly be any peace or prosperity for the region as long as the issue of the future of the Palestinians, which lies at the core of the Middle East problem, remains unresolved. Its settlement will be beneficial to both parties to the conflict.
Greece will continue to encourage the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and for the creation of their own State.
As all the States in the area are entitled to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders, so must the Palestinian people equally be given the opportunity to exercise freely their right to self-determination, which can result in the creation of national statehood.
In order to attain these goals the Palestinian people, through the PLO, their sole, legitimate representative, should also be given the possibility to participate, along with all others concerned, in the peace process.
Greece will continue to support the tireless efforts undertaken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the accomplishment of its difficult task. We believe that, as time goes by, there is an ever growing feeling, not only among those directly concerned, but also all over the world that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine must finally be reached as soon as possible for the benefit of peace and stability in the region and in the world.
H.E. Mr. Shintaro Abe,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The situation in the Middle East continues to be volatile and there is still a long way to go on the road to peace. As peace and stability in the Middle East directly affect world peace and prosperity, an early settlement of the problem is urgently desired. This was deeply impressed upon me during my visit to the Middle East last summer.
Under these circumstances, the fact that, following the accord reached by King Hussein and Chairman Arafat in February 1985, the parties concerned are making new of for is toward a settlement, provides us with a glimmer of hope. I believe it is the responsibility of the international community to encourage these efforts and not let that hope fade. Japan, for its part, will, to the best of its abilities, work to create a climate conducive to peace.
Japan steadfastly hopes for the early attainment of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. In order to achieve this end, it believes the following conditions must be met. Israeli forces mist be completely withdrawn from all the Arab territories occupied in the 1967 war, the legitimate and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to establish an independent State, must be recognized in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and the security of all the States of the region must be guaranteed and their territorial integrity respected.
I strongly hope that every party concerned will, with a realistic attitude, seek a negotiated settlement so that all the people in the region can live in peace in the near future.
On this memorable day, Mali vigorously condemns the segregationist and oppressive policy of the State of Israel and reaffirms its unswerving support and active solidarity with the valiant Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for their fundamental rights. We condemn the occupation of Arab territories and Zionist actions aimed at destabilizing Israel's neighbours, threatening their sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and more recently, Tunisia. These damaging actions are all acts of defiance by the Tel Aviv leaders against the international community. That is why I take this opportunity warmly to commend the Committee, which for 10 years now has unceasingly been informing international public opinion about the question of Palestine and the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, rights trampled underfoot by the Israeli Zionist entity.
We are pleased at the successes already gained and we remain convinced that the actions undertaken by the Committee could create the general conditions conducive to the establishment of a just and equitable peace in the Middle East. Inspired by this conviction, I reiterate to you Mali's commitment to the Committee.
By accepting many various peace initiatives, the Palestinians have demonstrated that they are seeking peace. Israel too should show that it is seeking peace and dialogue, the only path to peace and stability for all parties.
We hope that this Day will he an occasion on which all peace-loving nations and peoples may demonstrate their solidarity with peoples still under the yoke of foreign domination with a view to restoring their right to self-determination and freedom in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
While observing this meaningful day, we note with great concern that, in spite of the common aspirations shared by all the peace-loving peoples of the world, the question of Palestine still remains unresolved and the situation in the area continues to be highly complex and volatile.
The Government of the Republic of Korea wishes to reaffirm its position that the Israeli forces should withdraw from the territories occupied since the war of 1967, including Jerusalem, and that the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and national independence, should be recognized and fully respected.
On 24 October 1985, the United Nations celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its founding, which provided a unique opportunity for all the peace-loving countries to reaffirm their commitment to the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. On the same day, the General Assembly proclaimed 1986 to be the International year of Peace and called upon all peoples to join with the United Nations in resolute efforts to safeguard peace and the future of humanity. The Korean Government sincerely hopes that the solemn observance of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations and the designation of 1986 as the Year of Peace will provide an impetus for settling the question of Palestine and thus for bringing about a lasting peace, security and prosperity in the Middle East as a whole.
Finally, I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the Chairman and members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their untiring efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine.
The People's Republic of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people have always stood with the people of Palestine in their struggle against imperialism, zionism and reactionary forces and for international recognition of PLO and the realization of its legitimate and inalienable national rights. We are confident that the leaders of the various detachments within the Palestinian resistance movement will make every effort to overcome the differences that have emerged and restore the unity of PLO on a patriotic and anti-imperialistic basis.
Unity within the PLO, the deepening of its links with the countries of the socialist community and the strengthening of its unity of action with the Arab forces and States that consistently oppose Israeli aggression are decisive factors to block the separate solutions imperialist, zionism and reactionary forces are seeking to force upon the Arab peoples and to bring about the realization of the inalienable national rights of the people of Palestine to self-determination and the establishment of their awn democratic State.
We affirm that it will be possible to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the problem of the Middle East through the convening of an international conference, under the aegis of the United Nations, with the participation of all the parties concerned, including PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
As it has always done, the Bulgarian people will continue to give their support to the struggle of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and the strengthening of international peace and security.
While reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinian Arab people, we sincerely hope that the PLO will restore, on a democratic, patriotic and anti-imperialist basis, its unity, strength and joint stand with the forces fighting for a just peace in the Middle East.
On behalf of the President Council of the Hungarian People's Republic and the people of Hungary, we wish the PLO and the Palestinian Arab people success in their just struggle.
The triumph of the just cause of the Palestinians is ensured by their unity and solidarity and the concordance of their actions with those of all anti-imperialist forces in the Arab world.
Eleven years ago Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, declared from the podium of the General Assembly
"I know well that many of you present here today once stood in exactly the same resistance position as I now occupy and from which I must fight. You once had to convert dreams into reality by your struggle. Therefore you must now share my dream. (A/PV.2282, p. 46)
We are gathered today to declare solemnly that we do indeed share this dream and to pledge our support for the realization of the Palestinian people's dream of returning to their homeland to establish national independent sovereignty over their own land and to live in peace with their neighbours - Christians and Jews.
The ties of solidarity between the Palestinian and the African peoples are naturally rooted in their common struggle against foreign occupiers. Today, while most of Africa is free and independent, millions of Africans in Namibia and South Africa still live in bondage, and their continuing struggle against the oppression of apartheid is but part of a common Afro-Arab struggle against the Pretoria régime and its Israeli ally.
The question of Palestine, like that of Namibia and apartheid, remains one of the enduring and tragic anomalies and anachronisms of our times. In spite of a clear universal recognition of the problem, justice has continued to elude the Palestinian people. The problem of Palestine is universally accepted to be the core of the Middle East conflict. The Palestinian issue is the seed of the Middle East dispute, which has led to four major wars and to a constant threat to world peace. The world community has now recognized that the Palestinian problem can be settled only with the full exercise of the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as recognized by the United Nations. A solution to the question can be found only within the framework of a comprehensive settlement based on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all territories occupied since 1967.
The great majority of Member States of the United Nations have recognized that the issue of the Palestinian people must be solved if peace is to return to the Middle East.
The Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in Luanda in September 1985, declared that,
"...a just and comprehensive peace in the region can be based only on Israel's total and unconditional withdrawal from all the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories and the restoration of all inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to return to their homeland, the right to self-determination without foreign intervention and the right to establish their own independent sovereign State on their national territory." (A/40/854, para. 138)
The Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) meeting in Addis Ababa in July declared that,
"...a just and lasting peace can only be achieved when the people of Palestine exercise their inalienable rights, in particular their right return to their homeland, the recovery of national sovereignty, their right to self-determination and their right to establish an independent State on their territory." (A/40/666, p. 94, CM/RES.1000 (XLII)
Both meetings renewed support for the Arab Peace Plan accepted at the Twelfth Arab Summit, held at Fez on 9 December 1982, as an important contribution to the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict.
Within the framework of the United Nations, which has been dealing with the Palestinian issue almost since its inception, countless resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council have failed to secure any progress towards justice for the Palestinian people. On the contrary, Israel has demonstrated nothing but con tempt for the numerous United Nations resolutions and defiance of world opinion, and it is clear that it is the intransigence of Israel that has made a just and durable solution of the problem impossible.
Israel has rejected recognition by the General Assembly that the people of Palestine are entitled to equal rights and self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. It has ignored Security Council requests to evacuate occupied territories acquired by force. Instead, it has persisted in violating the Fourth Geneva Convention through the establishment of new settlements in the illegally occupied territories, it continues to harass the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories and to pursue policies clearly intended to lead to annexation. That these colonial policies are being perused at a time when the world is completing the decolonization process is truly an absurd anachronism. The Israeli policy of settlements has led to major displacements and dispossession of Palestinians, adding to the ever-growing number of refugees with all the attendant consequences.
In the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, nobody is suggesting any solution that would repeat the type of human tragedy created in Palestine by the aggressive policy of displacement and dispossession. It is not intended, as it is sometimes alleged, to push any people into the sea or to send them back where they came from. Retributive justice to problems having human dimensions would be as duel and inhuman as the crime that was committed several decades ago. Indeed, no one has put forth such a proposal, certainly not the PLO. What is sought is that Palestinians should have their homeland where they can live in honour and dignity.
Any solution of the problem must be based on recognition that the question of Palestine is first and foremost a problem of colonialism. Secondly, it is an issue brought about by the aggressiveness of one entity at the expense of another. Thirdly, it is an issue based on the dangerous doctrine of aggression against a neighbouring country.
In the discussion of any solution, the PLO, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, must be accorded equal-partner status, as has been recognized by the United Nations. The convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, which was last called for by the recent International Conference on the Question of Palestine held at Geneva and which has been called for too in General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, should be held without delay, with the participation of all parties concerned.
The Secretary-General stated in his 1982 report on the work of the Organization that,
"It is absolutely essential that serious negotiations on the various aspects of that problem involve all the parties concerned at the earliest possible time. Far too much time has already elapsed, far too many lives and far too many opportunities have been lost, and too many faits accomplis have been created." (A/37/1, p.4)
With time running out, the annexationist and colonialist policies pursued by Israel are making the situation in the occupied territories more and more tense and dangerous. Concerted action is long overdue to persuade the supporters of Israel to induce it to respond to relevant United Nations decisions and to the will of the international community on the question of Palestine.
For 16 years, the Zionist entity has persistently refused to recognize the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories or to grant it access to the occupied territories. Its refusal to co-operate is part of an attempt to hide Israeli Zionist practices in the occupied Arab territories, which are in flagrant violation of international conventions and rules.
There is no precedent either in ancient or in modern history for the events in Palestine, apart from the events in South Africa, where another racist régime bases itself upon the same racist ideological foundations employed by the racist entity in Palestine. Zionist ideology is founded upon notions of exclusivity and supremacy based on religious myths and myths concerning "racial purity"; the theories of exclusivity of the racist régime in South Africa are based on race and colour. The victims of those two naive theories are the indigenous populations, who are the true title-holders to their lands and resources. Those two systems pursue policies of terror and annihilation against the indigenous populations in order to force them to emigrate and to depopulate the land.
These are the two most abhorrent racist movements in history. Despite unanimous international condemnation, there are still those who stand by their side and protect them. Today more than ever before, the international community must engage in concerted effort and stand by the Palestinian people and its just struggle. The international solidarity with the people of Palestine genuinely reflects world-wide opposition to racist, aggressive Israeli actions and practices, and constitutes an indirect condemnation of all support to the Zionist entity. Such support can do nothing but ensure the military supremacy of the Zionist entity and encourage it to persist in its rejection of United Nations resolutions and its defiance of the will of the international community.
International support for and solidarity with the people of Palestine reflect clear condemnation of the positions of all those whose deeds do not match their words, who pay lip-service to the right of peoples to self-determination and to self-defence, but who remain silent as regards the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and to defend their very existence.
International solidarity and sympathy with the Palestinian people, with all they imply, reflect the concern of the international community that the basic principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be safeguarded.
We express our deep appreciation for the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and commend that Committee's work to arouse the world's conscience, to strengthen the links of international solidarity and to expose the truth about the Zionist policies and practices of the Zionist entity. We are confident that the Committee's efforts will be successful and that world public opinion will be awakened to the justice of the Palestinian cause and the legitimacy of the demands of the Palestinian people and its right to defend that cause and prosecute those demands by all means available to it.
If declarations of solidarity with the Palestinian people were to become a burgeoning reality, we would be all the closer to the day when the Palestinian people will win victory and achieve all their legitimate aspirations.
There is no need to stress again that the question of Palestinian refugees is but one element of the Palestinian problem. To be sure, the question of Palestine cannot be resolved without addressing the refugee problem, but neither can there be a just and lasting solution to the refugee problem without resolution of the question of Palestine.
The question of Palestine is a question of a people displaced from their homeland by force and terror, a people whose lands have been usurped by force and aggression, a people stripped of their rights by treachery and force. That question can be solved only through recognition of the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among them their right to return to their homeland, to self-determination, to independence, and to the establishment of a State of their own on their national soil. My narrow attempt to view the question of Palestine as a refugee problem will be doomed to failure and an exercise in futility. History has already handed down its verdict on similar attempts, likewise doomed to failure owing to a lack of understanding and analysis. That will be the fate of any further attempt along the same lines, no matter how it is disguised, no matter the intentions behind it.
We have witnessed enough hesitation and procrastination, which have blocked a much-needed political breakthrough to help reduce tension in the region. It is time to end the bloodshed and to look forward to a just and lasting peace.
In observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year - the fortieth anniversary of the founding of this Organization - we the members of the Asian Group hope that the ongoing constructive efforts aimed at resolving the question of Palestine will be strengthened and pursued further in a most determined manner, so that peace and stability may be restored to the Middle East.
The United Nations has taken many useful decisions in support of the Arab people of Palestine and it has become a tradition in the United Nations solemnly to observe this Day in solidarity with the courageous struggle of the Palestinians for their freedom and national dignity. A particular place among those decisions falls to the basic resolutions of the General Assembly that have affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination free of foreign intervention, to national independence and to sovereignty while the PLO is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Those decisions have meant growing support by the international community for the courageous struggle of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.
The Committee's annual observance of this Day is aimed at concentrating attention on the tragic lot of the Palestinian people and stressing the international community's deep concern at the fact that, owing to Israel and the forces supporting it, the national aspirations of the Palestinian people still remain unfulfilled today. It is clear to any impartial observer that Israel's occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands for many years and its obstinate refusal to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are the main obstacles to resolving the Middle East problem.
Nevertheless, we can note with satisfaction that the overwhelming majority of the States in the world are convinced that the Palestinian problem is at the core of the conflict in the Middle East and that without restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians there can be no just and lasting peace in that region. The is also broad international agreement that the only realistic way to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East question is to convene without delay an international conference with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the PLO, and several other countries, among them the Soviet Union and the United States of America.
Those considerations are the source and basis of the constant position of the countries of the socialist community, which firmly support the just cause of the Palestinian people and actively defend and advocate, within and outside the United Nations, the need for a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict. This position of the socialist countries was reaffirmed once again in the Declaration of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, adopted at its recent conference in Sofia on 22-23 October 1985, which states the following.
"The participants in the meeting voiced their firm conviction that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem can be achieved only through the collective efforts of all the parties concerned on the basis of a complete withdrawal of the Israeli forces from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, implementation of the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including its right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State of its own, and guarantees for the right of all States in that region to independent existence and development. An international conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices and with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the PLO, would be a practical course to follow. The strengthening of the unity of the Arab countries and the Palestinian movement would be conducive to a settlement of the Middle East problems." (A/C.1/40/7, pp. 9 and 10)
We reaffirm our solidarity with the courageous struggle of the Palestinian people and our confidence in the ultimate triumph of their just cause.
H.E. Mr. Gustavo Garcia-Moreno,
Alternate Representative of Colombia to the United Nations,
on behalf of the Group of Latin American States
From the beginning of the Palestinian tragedy, nearly 40 years ago, Latin America has identified with the aspirations, sufferings and misfortunes of the brave and long-suffering Palestinian people. And it could tot be otherwise, for religion, race and culture form consubstantial parts of our own Latin American identity. It is not by chance that our rich Castillian language has been enriched by 8,000 beautiful, melodious and often metaphorical Arabic words and expressions and that our architecture shows not a few reminiscences of Arab influence in a multitude of friezes, plinths and pediments. Nor is it surprising that in our Mestizo veins flows Moorish blood, the fruit of the splendid co-existence in Iberia that goes back practically 1,000 years.
For all those reasons, we have from the very beginning been at the side of Palestine and its people.
Since 1948, the year in which the State of Israel was created, the United Nations has been trying - without success - to implement the resolution that created two States on Palestinian land, one for Israel and one for Palestine. Since that time, the Middle East has been devastated by five wars and that rich and promising land has been darkened by much suffering, destruction and conflict, a conflict that must be resolved because its continuation undermines the very raison d’etre of our Organization.
Nonetheless, that solution can be durable and comprehensive only if the Palestinian people are allowed to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, national identity, full sovereignty and, lastly, to their own State so that the thousands of Palestinians who, today painfully and tragically displaced, may return to their Biblical haven and the build the future in freedom and peace, in full harmony with their neighbours in mutual respect and international co-existence.
All of Latin America has voted and will continue to vote for that solution, particularly as set forth in the framework of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
We must point out the contribution that has been and is still being made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and its diligent efforts, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Massamba Sarré, to find a just solution to the problem. The Committee's efforts clearly reflect the concern of the international community and the responsibility incumbent upon the United Nations in this regard. We trust that the collective wisdom of the international community will seek with imagination and realism a way out of the diplomatic labyrinth in which we now find ourselves by summoning to the negotiating table both the Palestinian people and their legitimate representative recognized by the United Nations. All efforts must be exerted to that end.
The sufferings of the Palestinian people, uprooted from their land, their families and their faith, without civil life and deprived of both cultural and national identity, without the dignity that comes from the knowledge that one is master of one's own fate, call upon our determined will to achieve their just and oft-repeated hopes. The entire world must be aware of the magnitude of the crisis and remain fully convinced that the Palestine crusade is the commitment of all. We make an ardent appeal to the leaders of public opinion and to those who oversee all the media to join in this crusade and arouse public awareness everywhere.
In these particularly violent times we conclude by calling for moderation, good sense and tolerance and for the renunciation of all violence. Only peaceful solutions will lead to the creation of a climate propitious to a return to co-existence. Now is the time for peace. All of Latin America wholeheartedly yearns for peace to come to the suffering and sorely tried people of Palestine.
F. Statements by United Nations committees
SPECIAL COMMITTEE AGAINST APARTHEID
H.E. Major-General Joseph N. Barba,
Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations
and Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid
The questions of Palestine and apartheid are of the gravest concern to the international community. Both problems emanate from the denial of the right to self-determination to the peoples concerned. Regrettably, all attempts made so far to bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as to pat an end to apartheid, have failed. The international community has clearly stated that any viable solution must recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to a return to their homes and to the establishment of their awn independent State in Palestine. The right to self-determination is a necessary pre-condition for the attainment of all other human rights which are attainable and derive meaning only within the context of national sovereignty and a national State. Conversely, the denial of the right to self-determination with the attendant subjugation of a people to alien and discriminatory rule is the most fundamental violation of all its rights. This denial is as much the lot of Palestinians as of Africans in South Africa.
The tragedy of the Palestinians and of Africans in South Africa is essentially the same. Each year the Special Committee against Apartheid submits a special report to the General Assembly and the Security Council on developments concerning relations between Israel and South Africa. That report points out clearly the nature of the alliance between those two régimes; in particular it shows the quantum increase of Israeli assistance to South Africa in the military and nuclear fields which has become a serious obstacle to United Nations efforts to enforce the arms embargo against apartheid South Africa. Other acts of collaboration exist between those two pariah régimes.
The concern of the Special Committee against Apartheid at the collaboration between the two régimes stems from the fact that it constitutes an alliance which is detrimental to the interests of the African and Arab peoples. The General Assembly has repeatedly called for the cessation of that diabolical alliance.
South Africa, Namibia and Palestine are questions that have appeared on the agenda of the United Nations from its inception. It is a blot on the record of this organization that these crucial problems remain unresolved today.
I take this opportunity to reaffirm, on behalf of the Special Committee against Apartheid, our support for the Palestinian people and their heroic struggle to regain their inalienable rights, under the leadership of their sole legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization.
On this Day we also pay tribute to those fallen heroes, victims of the oppressive forces of Israel and South Africa. They have paid the supreme sacrifice to demonstrate that aggression and terrorism cannot triumph over a people's determination and resolve to win eventual victory.
We in the Special Committee against Apartheid are convinced that, although the valiant struggle of the Palestinian and South African peoples will be difficult, we have no doubt of the eventual outcome.
We appeal to the international community to continue to provide moral, diplomatic and material support to the struggling peoples of Palestine and South Africa. We also call on the Western Powers which continue to support South Africa and Israel to change their policies and support the cause of justice and freedom.
Let me pay a tribute, Mr. Chairman, to this Committee and to you personally for the determination and commitment you have brought to the execution of your mandate. I wish you all success.
H.E. Mr. Abdul Koroma, Permanent Representative of
Sierra Leone to the United Nations and Chairman of the Special Committee
Members of the Special Committee attach great significance to the mobilization of international public opinion in favour of the attainment of the objectives of the United Nations on the question of self-determination for all people under alien or colonial domination. We are profoundly aware of the power of an alert and informed world public opinion in the struggle against injustice, oppression and alien and colonial domination. I am confident, therefore, that our meeting today will serve not only as a reminder to the Organization that it must redouble its efforts to find a just solution to the question of Palestine, but also as a clear message to the world at large in solidarity with, and support for, the cause of the Palestinian people. In so doing, we shall be serving the cause of justice and peace.
Before concluding, I should like to acknowledge with appreciation and esteem the very important work accomplished by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under the outstanding and indefatigable leadership of its Chairman, Ambassador Massamba Sarré of Senegal. In keeping with the relevant decisions of the General Assembly, it is incumbent on all of us to work closely and co-operate fully with the Committee in the discharge of its tasks, to enable the Palestinian people freely to decide their destiny in accordance with their own aspirations and wishes. Only then will the injustice imposed upon them for so long be brought to an end and the special obligation assumed by the United Nations in 1947 finally be fulfilled.
Since its establishment in December 1968, the Special Committee has had the task of preparing and submitting to the General Assembly a total of 17 reports in accordance with the General Assembly's resolutions renewing the Special Committee's mandate. In its report, the Special Committee attempts to describe the situation regarding the human rights of the civilian population.
I regret to have to say that since the inception of the Special Committee, the Government of Israel has withheld its co-operation from the Special Committee in the execution of its mandate. Representatives are no doubt aware that over the years, tension in the occupied territories has been on the increase, it is our view that we could contribute to alleviating some of the tension if we had the opportunity to visit the occupied territories to ascertain the facts, on the ground so to speak.
As we gather here to commemorate this Day, the people in the occupied territories are living in a situation of unprecedented tension. Violence has increased and curfews have been imposed in towns, villages and camps. The daily deterioration of the situation of civilians manifests itself on different levels and standards. Their life is largely affected not only by their inability to exercise the most fundamental rights but also by the absence of the factors necessary for the promotion of health care and the improvement of working conditions.
Representatives are no doubt aware that the aggravation of the situation in the occupied areas constantly gives rise to incidents and situations involving civilians, including young persons, leading to unhappy and ugly situations in which the civilian population gets involved. Such incidents are visited with severe measures and reprisals, we now know that individuals are even expelled without having an opportunity to defend their innocence in an Impartial and fair trial.
The Israeli settlers - who number over 50,000 according to information the Special Committee has received - are dispersed in over 230 settlements and constitute a major obstacle in the search for and negotiation of peace in the region. Their presence has led to an escalation of violence against the civilian population. It is unfortunate that the occupying authorities have not met this violence with commensurate measures. If such a policy were followed, we believe that the escalation of violence on this score could be contained.
The disastrous effects of military occupation are not limited to Palestinians inhabiting the occupied territories, but extend to those several hundreds of thousands of landless Palestinians scattered all over the world who have been denied the right to return to their homeland„ In that context, it is regrettable to have to say that the persistence and stubbornness of the Israeli authorities in the application of the illegal military occupation régime and the deliberate intention to engage in annexation can lead only to more and more suffering and a more and more drastic fate for the population of the occupied territories.
We therefore strongly appeal to the international community to assume its responsibility vis-à-vis the Palestinian civilian population and to remain constant in its encouragement of any international move which could lead to an international dialogue involving all parties concerned, The time has come to contribute in a concrete manner to alleviate the heavy and painful impact of the military occupation by finding a just and peaceful solution to it in the form of realization of the Palestinian people's aspirations to self-determination.
These commemorative meetings take place against the background not only of the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, but of intensified efforts to consolidate the occupation of Palestine homelands and to make the dispossession of the Palestinians permanent. Those actions by the occupying power are not only a gross violation of the basic principles of international law, but also constitute an affront to, and a deliberate desecration of, those sacred principles on which the United Nations was built.
The Council, as legal Administering Authority for occupied Namibia, views these developments from a particular perspective. We are engaged in an intense effort to bring an end to the illegal occupation of Namibia by the racist Pretoria régime so that the Namibian people may be enabled to enjoy their inalienable right to freedom in an independent Namibia. We therefore well understand the plight of the Palestinian people, and fully identify with their struggle.
We pay public and well-deserved tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under your wise and committed chairmanship for its increasing vigilance on behalf of the Palestinian people and its dedication to the promotion of their rights.
I recall the Eleventh United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, held in Guyana in June 1985, over which you so efficiently presided, Mr. Chairman. That event was an important contribution to sensitizing public opinion in the Latin American and Caribbean region to the various aspects of the Palestinian question and to the need for intensified international pressure in support of the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, including their right to their own independent State.
One of the most significant decisions by the United Nations towards ensuring the achievement by the Palestinian people of their fundamental rights was that taken in General Assembly resolution 38/58 calling for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East. The tense situation prevailing in that region and related events, such as Israel’s aggression against Tunisia, underscore the grave threat to international peace and security which exists in that region and the urgent need for such a conference.
The idea of convening a peace conference has already received the endorsement of an overwhelming majority of the international community. In the course of 1985 alone, gatherings such as the fifty-seventh meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Ten States Members of the European Economic Community, held in Luxembourg in April, the Twenty-first Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State or Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which met in Addis Ababa in July, the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Luanda in September, and the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government, held in Nassau last month, have all voiced their heightened concern over the situation in the Middle East and the need for urgent and concrete action through the proposed peace conference.
The current stalemate does not - it cannot - serve the interests of the Palestinian people, the satisfaction of whose rights is the core and centre-piece of the Middle East question. It therefore does not serve the cause of peace in the Middle East. That is perhaps the best argument for the international peace conference called for by the General Assembly, and the United Nations Council for Namibia reiterates its fervent support for the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to make a reality of that decision.
The Council hopes that this solemn occasion, which is being observed internationally, will be me for more than expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people. We sincerely hope that it will also serve the even more important purpose of stimulating a deeper commitment by States throughout the world to intensified action in support of the enjoyment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights. That is an imperative not only of peace and stability in the Middle East, but also of law, justice and human dignity.
LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES
H.E. Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Permanent Observer
of the League of Arab States to the United Nations
Today the Palestinian people, which have been the victims of all kinds of acts of aggression by Israel since 1947, call on the United Nations and the international community to take courageous and positive action to guarantee their inalienable rights, including their right to a national homeland. There is a consensus within the international community that a just and lasting peace in the region is at the core of the problem of the Middle East.
That settlement should take the following points into account: first, withdrawal of the Israeli forces from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and, secondly, the just settlement of the Palestinian problem on the basis of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of a State on their own soil in Palestine, including Jerusalem. In this context, we reaffirm the need for the Security Council to resume consultations for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on an equal footing.
I shall now read out the following statement of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States:
"On 29 November 1979 the United Nations decided that each year there will be an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People until that people accedes to what it has made so many sacrifices for, that is, self-determination like all the other peoples in the world. That resolution was a victory for the Palestinian people because in it the peoples of the world declared their solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people.
"Today we celebrate this Day of Solidarity in a very complex climate. Tension in the Middle East has escalated because of the perpetuation by the Zionist entity of violations of international instruments and arbitrary practices against the Arabs. The situation in the occupied territories has deteriorated owing to the repression carried out by the occupation forces, the denial of freedoms and rights, as well as a policy of expulsion to force the Arabs to leave their country. At the national level, the Zionist entity, continuing its policy against the Arabs, recently committed the terrorist act of violating Tunisian airspace and bombing civilian targets, resulting in enormous losses among Palestinians and Tunisians. In addition, there have been the violation of Syrian airspace and aggressive practices in southern Lebanon. At the international level, forces allied with Israel have tried to do what the Israeli forces have been unable to do, that is, to isolate the Palestinian people and exterminate the PLO by political, diplomatic and propaganda means. We need not mention here the resolutions adopted by the United Nations and other international forums condemning the Israeli practices and declaring them null and void, violations of the United Nations Charter, and incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions concerning occupied territories and prisoners of war.
"On this Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we must reaffirm the following facts: first, all attempts to weaken the Palestinian revolution have failed, while it has been able to obtain wider international recognition; secondly, international solidarity with the Palestinian people is an effective way of strengthening the legitimacy of the Palestinians people's struggle in public opinion and of guaranteeing further support for its struggle from all States that uphold human rights and the rights of peoples; thirdly, the Palestinian question is at the core of the Middle East question and, hence, we cannot conceive of any solution of the problem that does not take into account the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and, fourthly, the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with all other parties is essential in all efforts and conferences to settle the problem of the Middle East.
"I take this opportunity of the observance of this Day of Solidarity to appeal to the international community to assume its responsibility and adopt effective measures to confront Israeli intransigence in order to uphold human rights, do away with the law of the jungle and promote justice, freedom and peace throughout the world."
Right from the time of the first Non-Aligned Summit, held in Belgrade in 1961, the question of Palestine has been at the forefront of the deliberations and activities of the Non-Aligned Movement. The non-aligned countries have consistently advocated a comprehensive solution of the question of Palestine, the core of the Middle East problem, and the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is on the initiative of the non-aligned countries that the majority of the United Nations resolutions on the subject have been adopted. In past years, the non-aligned countries have been particularly active in mobilizing international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians and against Israel's actions in the occupied territories and its invasion of Lebanon. The non-aligned countries have reaffirmed their firm opposition to those Israeli practices and policies in the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories and called for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Indeed, the support of the Non-Aligned Movement for the just Palestinian cause and the solidarity of the non-aligned countries with the Palestinian people have been firm, continuous and unwavering, and there is an overwhelming consensus with the Movement on the basic principles pertaining to Palestine and West Asia.
The Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, meeting in New Delhi in March 1983, had the opportunity to re-examine exhaustively the question of Palestine. They affirmed in their Political Declaration:
" … a just and durable peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the total and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by it since 1967, including Jerusalem, and without the achievement of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment and exercise in Palestine of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return, self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty, including the right to establish the Palestinian Independent State in its homeland, Palestine." (A/38/132, p. 25)
The Ministerial Conference of the Nan-Aligned Countries, held in Luanda, in September 1986, reaffirmed those fundamental principles. Further, the Ministers reiterated their call for the speedy implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, and stressed anew the necessity for the early convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, emphasizing the major responsibility shouldered by the Security Council in facilitating the convening of the Conference and providing the appropriate institutional arrangements to guarantee implementation of the expected agreements in the Peace Conference. They stressed that every encouragement and support should be extended to the United Nations Secretary-General to pursue his consultations and endeavours for the convening of the Conference. The Ministers also decided to call for a meeting of the Security Council to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, during the early part of the fortieth session of the General Assembly.
In pursuance of the decision taken at the Luanda Ministerial Conference, the Security Council met at the request of the non-aligned countries early in October 1986 to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. Almost all speakers, many of them at ministerial level, stressed the urgent need to find a just and comprehensive political settlement of the Middle East conflict, and focused on the basic issue of securing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. A consideration of the question by the Security Council will contribute towards overcoming the major obstacles that stand in the way of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the problem.
It will be recalled that the New Delhi Summit decided to set up a Committee of Eight at the level of Heads of State or Government to support the rights of the Arab Palestinian people, in accordance with international law and the will of the non-aligned countries and their peoples, with the specific objective of working to achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to freedom and sovereignty in its independent homeland. The Committee of Eight at the level of Ministers and senior officials has held several meetings and has addressed itself to the efforts that should be made in the light of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the region, The Committee met at the ministerial level recently, on 30 September 1986. At that time, it decided to continue actively its efforts to mobilize all the available means to realize the implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C to ensure the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in which all parties to the Arab-Israeli, conflict would be invited to participate, including the PLO, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
If I have gone into the activities of the Non-Aligned Movement in support of the Palestinian cause at some length, it is to emphasize that support for, and solidarity with, our Palestinian brothers and sisters has been a fundamental feature of our Movement.
I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in its search for a just solution to the question of Palestine. The Committee's contribution in that regard has been significant. The programme of implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people drawn up by the Committee has repeatedly been endorsed by the General Assembly with large majorities. The efforts of the Committee for the early convening of the peace conference and to mobilize public support for the Palestinian cause have been untiring. No doubt much of the credit goes to the diligent efforts of the Committee's Chairman and the secretariat that so ably supports him.
The annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a time for stocktaking and reflection. Our meeting this year coincides with the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations, The question of Palestine has reached a critical stage, which does not brook delay. We hope that all the parties concerned will display the necessary political will and redouble their efforts with a view to finding a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the problem.
India's sympathy with, and support for, the Palestinian Arabs has been a consistent part of its foreign policy since its inception. The struggle may be long and arduous, but we have no doubt that the ultimate victory will be theirs. Let this historic occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People inspire us all to rededicate ourselves to the Palestinian cause, which is undoubtedly our own. Our voice will be one with theirs till victory is won.
The question of Palestine constitutes the core of the Middle East conflict and is the result of the Zionist usurpation and occupation of Palestine and the large-scale oppression, carnage and dispersal to which the Palestinian people have been subjected for the past four decades. Neither the imposition of the Zionist entity on Palestinian soil nor its policies of violent oppression and terrorism against the Palestinian people can succeed in fulfilling the Zionist ambitions of annihilating the Palestinian nation. The systematic and barbaric suppression visited upon the Palestinian people has only served to strengthen the resolve of the Palestinian people within the occupied territories as well as in the diaspora to wage a noble struggle for the restitution of their inalienable and universally recognized rights.
The principles of a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, which has an important bearing on regional and international peace and security, are well known and have been enunciated and reiterated in numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the united Nations, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. These include the total withdrawal of the Zionist occupation forces from Palestinian and Arab territories, including the Holy City of Jerusalem, the restitution to the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights, including the right to a sovereign State in Palestine under the leadership of the PLO, their sole legitimate representative, and the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized borders.
It is unfortunate that all initiatives and efforts by the international community and the flexibility demonstrated by the Arab States and the people of Palestine in their search for a comprehensive and lasting settlement in the Middle East have evoked no responsive chord in Israel, which enjoys full political and economic support from the United States of America. The Zionist State has rejected and systematically destroyed all peace initiatives and has continued single-mindedly to pursue its aggressive, expansionist and annexationist policies.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference calls upon the international community, and particularly those States that continue to assist Israel despite its obduracy and rejection of peace, to shoulder their responsibility and to fulfil their commitment to justice and equality by ensuring that the Palestinian people are allowed to exercise their inalienable rights freely. Only thus can peace return to that tormented region. Failure to do so will only result in the perpetuation of turmoil and uncertainty in the region and an accentuation of the threat to world peace and Security.
In that connection, I take note of the efforts of the Secretary-General in support of the just Palestinian cause.
It is no surprise that the Organization of the Islamic Conference should view the Palestinian cause as a central issue of high priority and devote great attention to it. The Organization of the Islamic Conference is committed to that cause because the 1969 Zionist aggression against the Al-Aqsa mosque - one of Islam's most sacred shrines - only two years after the June 1967 aggression by which Israel occupied the whole of Palestine, seizing the West Bank and Gaza - brought the Islamic countries together to sign an agreement establishing the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Yet our interest in the Palestinian cause is not based only on our Islamic beliefs, even though all Muslims are threatened by the occupation of Islamic shrines by the Zionist racists. There is no need to mention the justice of our cause: the Committee is fully aware of the history of the creation of Israel and has seen the development of the situation and the oppression, the murders and the massacres carried out by the Israeli racists and their supporters in South Africa and elsewhere.
Hence, our mother organization, the United Nations, has since 1947 been adopting resolutions acknowledging the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause. But despite their great number and clarity, those resolutions remain mere ink on paper owing to Israel's arrogant rejection of them, which calls into question the effectiveness and credibility of the United Nations.
The Palestinian people, whose national territory is under occupation as is that of its brethren in South Africa and Namibia - are enduring unimaginable horrors. They are detainees or prisoners in the huge prisons set up by the Israeli occupation authorities, either in the West Bank, Gaza or other parts of occupied Palestine, which is in the hands of the Israeli leaders. I need not go into detail regarding the practices of the Tel Aviv authorities - their settlements, their ousting and uprooting of the Arab people - intended to occupy Palestine and establish Israeli settlements there. I shall not dwell on Israel's invasion of Lebanon, its attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor and its shelling of a suburb of the capital of Tunisia, killing men, women, children and old people. Israel destroyed the headquarters of the PLO, thus denying the Palestinian people homes in a foreign land after locking them out of their own country.
Israel raises hell if one of its citizens is killed or wounded, while at the same time trying to liquidate the Palestinian people. As one Arab author has written, "Killing one person in the jungle is a crime, but the Harder of an entire nation is a subject for debate and discussion".
Talk without action is mere ink on paper and can have no effect. We call on all the world's peace-loving peoples to redouble their efforts and their support for the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to liberate all their territory and establish a State of their own.
By the will of God, the Palestinian people will soon gain victory, along with the peoples of South Africa and Namibia, and the banners of freedom will once again fly over all occupied territories. Legitimacy will prevail.
We are speaking here as fighters against apartheid, a system long since internationally denounced and declared a crime against humanity, a system historically twined to Zionist Israel. The people of South Africa, like the people of Palestine, fully understand that nothing can replace a people's right to self-determination, as well as their right to statehood and full citizenship in their motherland. Like the Palestinian people, we know that nothing short of total victory in the struggle for this birthright will suffice. Thus, beyond the fact that the struggle for freedom and its defence is indivisible, solidarity between the people of Palestine and the people of South Africa is a historical necessity.
Since the imposition of an arms embargo on apartheid South Africa, Zionist Israel has served as a willing conduit for arms from the West to the racist Pretoria régime. The Zionist and the apartheid régimes have jointly developed and acquired an ability to at least assemble at short notice a nuclear-strike capability. Both régimes, through comprehensive programmes of destabilization, wanton acts of military aggression and violation of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring States, are regional sources of war and conflict and threats to peace and security, as well as obstacles to development and progress. Both régimes, along with their imperialist patrons and allies, seek to divide the forces of freedom and to roll back the advances of freedom, to perpetrate and perpetuate oppression and exploitation.
Today, in response to the directives of ANC, the people of South Africa are making apartheid unworkable and the country itself ungovernable. Through their mass united actions and the relentless escalation of their armed struggle, they continue to drive apartheid deeper and irreversibly into economic and political crisis. The Pretoria racist régime has sought to save itself as usual by further intensifying its reign of terror. More than three months ago, it declared a state of emergency under whose umbrella it empowered its security forces to arrest, detain, torture and murder opponents of apartheid without having to give account. It is also systematically striving to eliminate popular leaders and activists. The death toll as a result of apartheid State terrorism during the period covered by this state of emergency alone is conservatively estimated to amount to more than 900. Yet at every point the people's determination to be free has outmatched apartheid's repression and violence and, as our President Oliver Tambo has said, the future is within our grasp.
The fall of apartheid South Africa and the establishment of a free, united, non-racial and democratic South Africa will deprive Zionist Israel of an important ally, so that South African freedom will also be an advance for the just struggle of the Palestinian people.
We wish to restate our steadfast conviction that the continued denial of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of a Palestinian State in their homeland is at the root of the conflict in the Middle East. Therefore, no solution that does not recognize that right of the Palestinian people can be just and lasting. Furthermore, any search for a solution that does not allow the Palestinian people, through their sole, authentic representative, the PLO, to participate fully and freely is doomed to fail.
We take the opportunity of this historic day in the history of the Palestinian people to reaffirm our principled and militant solidarity with them, their struggle and their sole, authentic representative, the PLO. We also reaffirm our solidarity with the struggling people of Namibia and their sole, authentic representative, the South West Africa People's organization (SWAPO). We reaffirm our solidarity with all struggles against oppression, dispossession and exploitation of man by man and for a free, prosperous and peaceful future for all mankind.
Victory to the Palestinian people! Victory to the PLO: The struggle continues.
Similarly, the same British colonial Power, through the infamous Balfour Declaration, handed over mandated Palestine to international zionism under the guise of creating a "Jewish homeland". The Palestinian people, constituting an overwhelming majority and the rightful owners of the land, were totally ignored. The indigenous people of Palestine were rendered stateless. Today, it is widely acknowledged that the Middle East is a hotbed of tension. The crux of the contradiction is the usurpation of Palestine by settlers and the forceful removal of Palestinians from their ancestral homelands.
The peoples of Azania, Namibia and Palestine are demanding what the international community has proclaimed an inalienable right of all peoples - the right of self-determination in their own country. In apartheid South Africa the white minority allocated to itself 87.3 per cent of the total land area, although it comprises only one fifth of the total population. The indigenous majority are to be herded into the remaining 12.1 per cent of the land area. That very act is contrary to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, which upholds the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, for without land there can be no right upon which to exercise self-determination.
The peoples of Azania, Namibia and Palestine are not asking for civil rights. They are not asking for the reform of the racist-colonial systems to which their respective countries are currently subjected. Racism, by and large a product of colonialism in the third world, be it in the form of apartheid or zionism, cannot be reformed. It must be totally eradicated.
I should like at this stage to dwell briefly on two issues we of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania consider of vital importance. The first is the legitimacy of the oppressed and dispossessed peoples' using all available means to realize their fundamental and inalienable rights. In recent years, due to media manipulation by the Western-dominated monopolies, the victims of aggression and dispossession have been branded as terrorists and the genocidal acts of the settler minority and illegal régimes pursuing blatant racist ideologies are portrayed as law-and-order acts. There exists irrefutable evidence that the process of dispossession in Namibia, Azania and Palestine was carried out through the use of naked violence against the largely unarmed and unorganized indigenous population. Moreover, the arms used by the settler colonizers were provided by the Western colonial Powers.
The oppressed, exploited and dispossessed peoples of Azania, Namibia and Palestine have taken their legitimate cause to all the international institutions and forums in order to seek redress. In terms of principles, those international institutions and forums have upheld the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Azanian, Namibian and Palestinian peoples. Apartheid has been consistently and internationally condemned, and yet it continues to thrive, with the overt and covert support of the United States, Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany and other Western States. The apartheid, rulers continue to butcher our people. In the past 15 months alone, more than 1,000 Azanian patriots have been shot and killed in cold blood by the trigger-happy police of the racist régime. In Namibia, the racist régime of South Africa has carried out similar brutalities. The massacre of innocent Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila, the wanton bombing of Lebanon by the Zionists and the recent attack against Tunisia are all aimed at wiping out the Palestinian people. Hence, despite international condemnation of both a n and zionism, the apartheid rulers of South Africa and the Zionists in occupied Palestine continue to kill and maim innocent Azanians, Namibians, Palestinians and peoples in the surrounding areas. Both the South African racists and the Zionists maintain their entities through the use of brute and naked violence, with sophisticated weapons supplied to them by the Western countries, in particular the United States.
Given the continued arrogance of the South African racists and the Zionists in the fact of persistent calls by the international community to dismantle apartheid, and recognize the right of the people of Palestine to their homeland, the peoples of Azania, Namibia and Palestine have had no alternative but to organize themselves and to use all means available to realize their universally recognized, inalienable rights to national liberation and self-determination, including the use of armed struggle.
It is important that this Committee wage a concerted campaign to educate the international community to distinguish between reactionary violence perpetrated against the oppressed - namely, State terrorism - and the armed struggle waged by a dispossessed people. Today, over 1,000 have been killed by the racist régime in South Africa. Because all of the victims have been black, the international community considers it as a problem zone. As soon as the black people say "enough is enough" and begin to retaliate against their vicious oppressors, it will be considered a racial conflict. Hence, our people have decided to deal with the agents and collaborators within the black ranks to demonstrate that we are against the system and all those who uphold and serve it.
The second paint upon which we should like to comment is the support these two entities receive from Western Powers, especially the United States. The Reagan Administration in particular has even had the audacity to support the South African racists publicly through the so-called constructive engagement policy. It is that policy that has encouraged the South African racists to continue their illegal occupation of Namibia and to embark on a genocidal plan against the people of South Africa itself. The recent vetoes in the Security Council by the Reagan Administration and the United Kingdom on the question of Namibia is further proof, if proof is required at all, of the overt and covert assistance the United States and other Western countries give to the apartheid régime. It is quite clear that the Zionist entity is the biggest recipient of financial and material aid in the world from the United States. All the most sophisticated weapons are given to the Zionists to test against the Palestinian and Arab peoples.
Azania, under the South African racists, is considered a Western outpost by the Western imperialist Powers. Similarly, occupied Palestine is a Western outpost in the strategic Middle East. In this global game, the fundamental rights of the oppressed and dispossessed peoples of Azania, Namibia and Palestine are deliberately and wilfully ignored.
Those who deliberately and wilfully choose to ignore the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Azanian, Namibian and Palestinian peoples are doing so at their own peril, for those rights cannot be denied perpetually.
On this occasion, PAC would like to convey to our Palestinian brothers and sisters, both inside and outside occupied Palestine, to the PLO, to Chairman Yasser Arafat and his Committee, our militant and sincere solidarity. We have admired the courage of our Palestinian and Arab brothers in the wake of Zionist terror, and we remain convinced that a people prepared to sacrifice will eventually triumph.
In conclusion, we of PAC are convinced that the vehicle for genuine change can only be the oppressed, exploited and dispossessed peoples and, therefore, their fighting capacity must be strengthened by the international community. Our determination, our courage and our just and legitimate cause will prevail against all else. About this, we are confident.
May we once more thank and congratulate the Committee for the excellent work it is doing.
I am here today representing the 117 NGOs that participated in the Second International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine that was convened at Geneva from 9 to 12 September 1985. In spirit, the ICC also hopes that it speaks on behalf of the additional hundreds of NGOs world-wide which were unable to attend the international meeting but which are working diligently in their respective regions for peace with justice in the Middle East.
We credit and thank the United Nations, the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights for assisting us in the building of a global network of NGOs active on the question of Palestine. Beginning with the preparations for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine convened in Geneva in August-September 1983, many NGOs realized for the first time that there were literally hundreds of additional NGOs world-wide which were struggling to influence world opinion on this issue by disseminating information to their respective constituencies. Up to that time there had been little contact and co-ordinating among them.
From that moment the initial international NGO network on the question of Palestine began to grow and spread its roots to every continent. Decisively aided by United Nations-sponsored NGOs symposia and meetings over the past two years, the international NGOs movement accepted the challenge of identifying other groin in virtually every corner of the globe and bringing them into contact with the network and we another. In 1984, at the United Nations First International Non-Governmental Organizations Meeting on the Question of Palestine, a Non-Governmental Organizations Interim Co-ordinating Committee was established, this year it was succeeded by a more permanent 22-member International Co-ordinating Committee. This new Committee is composed of representatives from almost every corner of the globe, including Palestinian and Israeli NGOs working for justice and lasting peace in the Middle East. The regional symposia organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People have greatly assisted the global NGOs community in making nee contacts and establishing regional co-ordinating committees so that the NGO outreach to the world's public can be more effective and more efficient. We thank the Committee for its efforts in securing this programme and we strongly encourage the United Nations General Assembly to continue its support.
Last year Mr. Ernie Ross, the NGO representative, spoke before this Committee and pronounced the NGOs' commitment to securing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and stated that the NGO community, like this august body, was searching for an alternative to war in the region, for a sane path to peace with justice. One of our tools in the search for peace has been the initiation of a global signature campaign, an appeal from the global family to all nation States to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood and the right of all States in the region to exist within secure and internationally recognized boundaries. In accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, we also have endorsed the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East to be attended by all parties to the conflict, including representatives of the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Israel, those Arab States parties to the conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union - all under the auspices of the United Nations.
I am here to declare that we are extending our signature campaign efforts for another two years and will focus our world-wide efforts to attract the support of popular organizations with large memberships, parliamentarians and the peace forces in Europe, North America, Israel and other areas. Through our revised structure we intend to increase our co-ordination in achieving our goal.
The International Coordinating Committee and the NGOs it represents firmly believe that we have a unique role to play in securing peace in the region based on a realization of the rights of the Palestinian people. The challenge for us is global, so, then, must be the response.
One of the NGOs' primary aim is to increase the world's understanding of this issue, for much of the injustice that has been perpetrated against Palestinians is rooted in the public's lack of awareness of the facts, as opposed to the myths, concerning Palestine. We frame the issue in human terms. The question of Palestine is the question of the Palestinians, and they are not to be suppressed by the savagery of conquest of the repressive restrictions of military occupation. Nor can they be forgotten once events fade from the headlines as "new facts and realities" are created. Yet for nearly as long as this United Nations has existed, the millions of Palestinians have been relegated to a half-life, to perpetual insecurity without a State of their own. For much of that period the Palestinians have been a faceless, and therefore powerless, fraction of humanity. The world, in particular North America and Europe, needs the facts of this issue, and the NGOs world-wide are collaborating to realize this objective.
Since 1948 the Palestinian people have been alternately characterized in the West as either refugees or terrorists. These stereotypes have been eagerly and efficiently reinforced by those determined to deprive the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights. These are prefabricated, pejorative images that resist change and justice, or at least condone hostile acts. In the West, Palestinians, when their existence has been grudgingly acknowledged, have been reduced to these two self-contained and rigid categories - refugees and terrorists. The Palestinians have rarely been depicted as a nation, as a people: students, writers, doctors, teachers, fathers, mothers and children. From this perspective Palestinians have been ignored or exterminated, but rarely understood. Unfortunately, few make the quantum leap of logical inquiry and ask the simple question “Why? Why are these people refugees? Why are they involved in the struggles in the Middle East? What is their quest?" As long as the Palestinian people remain one-dimensional images to most of us, we, like myself, in the West, can never accept that they are really like us, motivated by similar human needs, filled with similar aspirations for themselves, their families, and their nation. Such stereotyping has masked the gravest tragedies.
It is vital then, that we NGOs challenge and change these publicly held perspectives of the Palestinian people. We seek support for ways and means to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights in Palestine. We have undertaken to impact public opinion as a key to policy change in North America, Western Europe and Israel. We believe that peace and security for all in the region pivots on the just resolution of the question of Palestine. We are continuing our contacts and developing co-ordination between all NGOs, with encouraging results. Finding one another has been most beneficial for us, for we know now that we are not working alone. I must reiterate that the United Nations-sponsored regional symposia and international meetings are crucial to this dimension of our programme. Through the central co-ordination of the ICC we believe that the increased information flow among NGOs world-wide can enhance the effectiveness and hasten the realization of our common aim. the self-determination of the Palestinian people.
In her closing remarks to the delegates, non-governmental organizations and the world press at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held in 1983, the Secretary-General of that auspicious Conference, Mrs. Lucille Mair, spoke of the unique spirit that had touched many of the participants. She offered special recognition to the work undertaken during those days by the NGOs. I think she would be proud of the evolution of that network over the past two years.
Each of the NGO meetings and symposia has helped us develop that network. At each gathering we have had glimpses of a bridge that can be built by decent people, a sense of the world community drawing upon its most fundamental principles and creating a delicate form of hope that must be nurtured. It is a hope that is soberly tempered by the work that lies before us.
The date 29 November reminds us that, thanks in no small part to your assistance and encouragement, we have made some progress. ICC and the NGO community it represents dedicate themselves to enhancing the process for peace in the Middle East by co-ordinating our efforts and influencing public opinion.
We thank you again for this unique opportunity to address this seminal meeting. Over the past three years we NGOs have come to believe that we share a common vision with the Committee, a vision of positive change, change that will promote peace and security, justice and equity in the Middle East, particularly for the Palestinian people. We look upon our collaboration with you, the United Nations, the Division and the Committee as a singular opportunity to gather our collective energies to realize our common goals.
I should also like to thank the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for the statements they have made this morning, and I thank the other Members who spoke in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and support for the Palestinian people and their just struggle to achieve their inalienable national rights.
I should also like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the Palestinian people for the important message that have been read out from Heads of State and Government on this occasion expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership, the PLO, in their just struggle. Each messages give added momentum to the march towards peace in the Middle East.
The status the Palestinian question enjoys on the political level has been gained through the enormous sacrifices made by the Palestinian people, who have unswervingly insisted on their legitimate right to defend their lives and to struggle for realization of their inalienable national rights in a bloody series of long and arduous struggles. In spite of the vast achievements won through those struggles on all levels and in all areas, and in spite of the hundreds of resolutions adopted by the United Nations in favour of the Palestinian people, those achievements and resolutions - as is well known - have not borne fruit. They remain a dead letter and have not been implemented.
Needless to say, the stalemate that exists with regard to those international resolutions is due to the veto power the United States insists upon exerting against their adoption. The United States, which has adopted an inimical position towards the people of Palestine, bears the major responsibility for the status of those resolutions, as well as for the perpetuation of Israeli occupation in our area and the continuation of acts of aggression that jeopardize international peace and security in the world at large. The United States does not confine itself to virulent and misleading propaganda campaigns; it also resorts to physical and concrete measures to arrogate to itself the right to be the leader of international terrorism. Millions and billions of dollars of its budget are given to Israel to support its war machine, to promote campaigns of intervention and aggression and to draw up plans to topple this or that régime through conspiracies against the stability and security of peoples and of sovereign, peace-loving nations. The last in a long series of such actions was the act of piracy over the Mediterranean carried out against a civilized Egyptian aircraft - despite relations that are sometimes called an "alliance" and sometimes "cordial and friendly".
As President Reagan has stated, the United States will not hesitate to resort to such terrorist operations again, thus flouting international law and riding roughshod over other internationally accepted norms. The persistence of such a policy, as well as the stubborn disregard for established facts in the region, factors universally recognized and accepted and reaffirmed by the United Nations in its resolutions concerning the situation in that region and the question of Palestine, do not augur well for the future or allow any glimmer of hope as to the future of peace in the area. On the contrary, they pose a real threat, and that threat is revealed by the widening of the circle of violence and the heightening of tensions in the region to such an unprecedented degree that no one can control the situation.
A few weeks ago the Israeli Premier, Shimon Peres, bemoaned the lost chances for peace in the area in an attempt to mislead his listeners as he advanced the terms of Israel's so-called peace initiative and maintained that Israel was seeking peace in the region. He blamed the Palestinian people and the neighbouring Arab States for obstructing the march towards peace by their insistence on rejecting intimidation and terrorism. Israel's policy, which is designed to mislead and is contemptuous of the opinions of others, can quickly be revealed and debunked.
Israel's true position is daily revealed in that entity's barbaric and inhuman practices against our Palestinian and Arab peoples in the occupied Arab territories - in the policies of Judaization, of settlement and oppression, of mass punishment and the demolition of dwellings, of the confiscation of lands and the imposition of Israel's bulldozer culture to destroy the land. It is also revealed in Israel's displacement of peoples, its control of natural resources and the economy and its changing of the cultural and national character of life, its expulsion of elected municipal leaders and all the other military enforcement measures it is taking and the free rein being given the gangs of Meir Kahane. All such practices against innocent civilians fully reveal the true and ugly face of Israel.
It is an irony of fate that Peres should speak about a lost peace while daily and deliberately implementing a policy aimed at confiscating the national inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, not to mention the flimsy pretext of "security" used to legitimize the annexation of occupied Palestinian and Arab lands. Such a doctrine, concealing as it does the true aggression and expansionism of Israel, is reflected in its destructive deeds, deeds that reproduce the serious consequences inherent in the Nazi doctrine of lebensraum.
These factors could be gone into in great detail. I have merely mentioned them. Suffice it on this occasion to refer to the vast files and records in the archives of the United Nations and its various bodies concerning the Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories. Yet, despite all those inhuman and barbaric deeds, despite all the oppressive Israeli practices against our people, the Israeli representative comes here to speak of peace. Israel may attempt to beautify it ugly face, marked as it is by the blood of the Palestinian people, but Peres' words, in reality, call for capitulation, not peace based on justice. Our people thus rejects them and will always reject them.
The legitimacy of our struggle and their absolute right to resist the occupying Power are two issues on which there can be no retreat or compromise of principles. On various pretexts we are being called upon, whether directly or indirectly, to cease our resistance to the occupier. Such demands are tantamount to asking our people to surrender and acquiesce totally with the status of aggression and military might.
In this connection, we would point out the danger of the Israeli-American approach and its destructive result of poisoning the atmosphere and misleading public opinion. I call upon all nations and peoples of the world, and especially the nations that resisted fascism and nazism in order to liberate their countries from the forces of occupation and aggression, to counter with a firm resolve that virulent, misleading campaign, which reeks of conspiracy against our people and their right to achieve their destiny. Of all the peoples of the world, the Palestinian people, who have suffered and who continue to suffer the scourge of Israel's aggression against their territory, have the greatest need for genuine peace and for an end to unceasing aggression. Our people have always stated, at all levels, their overriding, genuine desire to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution to their tragedy on the basis of justice and international legitimacy. The PLO has worked tirelessly towards that end, but our genuine and sincere efforts have met with nothing but intransigence, wanton destruction and contempt from the Israeli enemy. Every sincere call for peace, whether issued by us or by the friendly forces throughout the world, has been met by Israel with more acts of aggression and escalating military campaigns. The Israeli enemy, by its reliance on time and its physical presence to bring about the assimilation of the Palestinian and Arab territories it has occupied, is pursuing a lost cause that is doomed to failure. The Israeli persistence in ignoring facts with regard to those territories can only lead to an increased and more valiant resistance.
Israel's imposition of settlements and its blackmail of the Palestinian and Arab populations is based on the premise of the existing balance of power and a tilt towards an Israeli-Arab confrontation. Such a confrontation, however, will not lead to peace. Continued aggression and occupation can lead only to more violence and bloodshed and bring about additional destabilization and insecurity, widening the scope of tension in the area.
In spite of our people's afflictions and their plight, which exceed all bounds, the PLO has remained steadfast in its efforts to establish and maintain a just and lasting peace. The PLO will continue to pursue that goal, in spite of the efforts and the collusion of the forces working against it.
In pursuit of that noble goal, the PLO welcomes all constructive efforts and initiatives made by the international community. In keeping with that position, we welcomed the American-Soviet communiqué issued in October 1977. We also welcomed the Soviet initiative of the late President Brezhnev. The PLO also contributed to the formation of the Arab peace plan adopted at the Arab Summit held at Fez, Morocco, in 1982. The PTA participated in the international conference held under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva in 1983 and it welcomed the resolutions adopted by that conference and what is known as the Geneva Declaration on the Question of Palestine. That international conference also adopted a programme of work for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Everyone knows the result of the Palestinian-Jordanian effort and the obstacles placed in its path by the United States and by the subsequent British rejection.
It is high time for everyone to shoulder his responsibility in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of the international community. The faster, safer and more feasible way to put an end to the plight of our people is to hold an international conference under United Nations auspices, on the basis of all the resolutions concerning the Palestinian question, with the participation of all the permanent members of the Security Council and all the parties involved in the conflict, foremost of which is the PLO. That is the way to establish a just and lasting peace in the whole area.
The struggle of our people to realize their national, inalienable rights will continue undaunted. Those rights include the right to return to their homeland, the right to their own property and the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on their own national territory.
I thank all those present for their support and solidarity and their efforts to advance a genuine and lasting peace. May the peace of God be upon you all.
We are coming to the close of our work dazing which we have received 35 messages from Heads of State, 7 from Heads of Government, 4 from foreign minister and 4 from Governments, in addition to those that I have just mentioned, including the statements we heard this morning by the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and chairmen of the main organs of the United illations. From all those messages and statements one clear point of consensus emerges - that the question of Palestine is today of such vital importance to international peace and security that each of us should do everything in his power to ensure the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as defined by the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant resolutions of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and that if those rights are not restored peace in the Middle East will not be possible and international peace and security will continue to be threatened.
In that connection, we should recall what we have always said at ceremonies of this kind: that each Government needs to assume its fall responsibilities to foster peace and enable all the parties concerned and interested to come together and discuss ways and means of restoring peace in the Middle East. It will be recalled, that over the years that the question has been on the agenda of the United Nations, we have managed through argument and discussion to identify certain criteria and the means to restore peace. All that remains to be found is the political will, which all of us, individually and collectively, must find within ourselves as a catalyst to restore peace in the Middle East. On leaving this meeting we should resolve each of us at his own level - to make every effort to ensure that the political will is added to that consensus so that peace may return to the Middle East, first and foremost through the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
That is all I wish to say at the conclusion of this important ceremony devoted to the Palestinian cause. I thank you all for having been so kind as to attend in such large numbers in response to the Committee's appeal. Please convey to your Heads of State and your Governments the Committee's thanks. What we heard beginning this morning is a source of encouragement to us all on the Committee.
I also take this opportunity to thank the members of the Secretariat, the interpreters and the translation services, as well as the Division for Palestinian rights, all of whom have assisted us so cheerfully and eagerly during this International Day of Solidarity. I am convinced that we have, to the extent of our capabilities, sought to contribute to finding a just and lasting solution to the problem of the Middle East, which must include the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.