Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
30 April 1991
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Issue 2 - April 1991
New York, May 1991
Memorandum delivered by a delegation of Palestinians from the occupied territory
to Mr. James Baker, Jerusalem, 7 April 1991
Foreign Minister of Israel on the question of a regional conference, Jerusalem, 11 April 1991
Statement delivered by a delegation of Palestinians from the occupied territory to Mr. James Baker,
Jerusalem, 20 April 1991
In April 1991, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People requested that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat prepare urgently and update regularly, for the use of the Committee members and observers, a compilation of the relevant recent statements, declarations and proposals regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Issue 1 of the compilation, prepared in response to the decision of the Committee, was released in April 1991. It covered the period from January 1988 through March 1991.
The present compilation is the second in this series.
Note should be made that reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, proposals and initiatives, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.
Memorandum delivered by a delegation of Palestinians
from the occupied territory to Mr. James Baker
Jerusalem, 7 April 1991
On 7 April 1991, a delegation of Palestinians from the occupied territory met with the United States Secretary of State, Mr. James Baker, at the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem and delivered to him the following memorandum:
"With reference to our memorandum of March 12, 1991, we would like to present the following comments and questions for immediate consideration:
"1. The PLO, our sole legitimate representative, has demonstrated its genuine commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to advancing the cause of peace through negotiations and dialogue. To this end, it reacted positively to your previous visit three weeks ago by delegating a group of Palestinians from the occupied territories to meet with you and carry out a serious and candid discussion of the central issues and to present you with essential questions which need to be addressed in order to facilitate progress in the peace process on sound bases. These efforts were further pursued by the PLO during meetings held in Washington, D.C., between a Palestinian from the occupied territories and high level officials from the State Department and the National Security Council.
"Among the most pressing issues raised is the recognition of PLO representation of the Palestinian people everywhere and the futility and counter-productiveness of seeking to undermine or negate its legitimacy and of attempting to construct an artificial alternative Palestinian leadership. In this context, the restoration of the U.S.-PLO dialogue is an essential ingredient for facilitating tangible achievements in the peace process, especially pertinent to the intrinsic and independent Palestinian decision concerning legitimate and credible interlocutors.
"2. From this perspective, and in accordance with the PLO's policy of maintaining dialogue and forthright communication, we are seriously interested in meeting with you and in ensuring the success of this projected meeting. However, our concern is for substance and not just form, and we are convinced that any meeting of this nature must present qualitative and incremental progress in concrete terms and not become an end unto itself.
"3. Foremost among the issues raised with the American administration is the urgent imperative of addressing the brutal Israeli measures carried out against the lives, rights, lands and resources of the Palestinian people under occupation. Israel's policy of intransigence, entrenchment, procrastination, and creating facts is not only a blatant violation of international legality, but is an active negative response to all peace initiatives, which effectively undermines any political progress and destroys all prospects for peace in the region.
"Israel's frenzied intensification of the settlement policy; its stepped-up confiscation of land and resources; its escalation of the iron fist policy in terms of detentions, killings, closed areas, curfews, economic strangulation, closures of institutions, and all other forms of collective punishment constitute collectively Israel's real response to peace. Such 'confidence-building measures' are destroying Palestinian rights and realities, while shattering any faith in an impartial and equitable peace process which, at such early stages, is incapable of influencing or altering this morally and politically abhorrent reality. Unless Israel is made to cease these policies forthwith, no Palestinian will be in a position to pursue political meetings or endeavours. It is self-evident that Israel's process of confiscating land and expanding settlements is entirely incompatible with any attempts at starting a peace process.
"4. Israel continues to hold the peace process hostage to its own designs, whether by subjecting it to its self-serving conditions, or by persisting in its refusal to comply with the will of the international community as expressed in UN resolutions 242 and 338, and as reiterated by President Bush on the basis of the principle of 'land for peace'. Thus, both its started and actual policies are consistent in obstructing and destroying the chances for a genuine peace settlement. Consequently, Israel must be held accountable on both levels, and must be brought to comply with the resolutions of the international community, with the principles of peace and justice which are globally espoused, and with the concrete imperatives of peace as required by the actual process and its declared objectives.
"In contrast, the Palestinian people as represented by the PLO have, demonstrated not only a genuine commitment to peace but have also acted in a flexible and responsible manner to serve its cause. Instead of seeking further concessions or elaborations from the Palestinians, the time has come for the U.S. to seriously tackle the problem of Israeli rejectionism and intransigence which is the real obstacle to peace. The continuation of this asymmetrical process is neither equitable nor fruitful, and the disequilibrium will inevitably cause the whole process to keel over.
"5. The envisaged peace process is fraught with further perils if the 'twin track' approach as articulated by U.S. officials becomes one of misplaced priorities and asynchrony. A comprehensive and integrated approach is more desirable and practicable, and requires regional and international participation and guarantees. Any form of peace conference must be based on parity and respect for the sovereignty of each party, while maintaining international legitimacy and structures.
"6. Any phases in the peace process must be clearly designated as interim stages in an overall process, with the logic of internal coherence and causality, leading to the defined objectives of independence and statehood, security, and genuine regional stability and development.
"The issues raised here seek to address the substance of any meeting and to ensure genuine qualitative progress rather than serve only the ritual or form. We remain willing to pursue the PLO policy of an active search for peace, but not at the cost of our national rights nor while Israel persists in its inhuman and illegal policies and measures. Right now, our primary concern continues to be the plight of the Palestinian people under occupation, a pressing and vital issue of survival that can bear no further neglect of delays."
Foreign Minister of Israel on the question of a regional conference
Jerusalem, 11 April 1991
On 11 April 1991, at Jerusalem, the Foreign Minister of Israel, Mr. David Levi, reportedly briefed the inner cabinet on the following nine points agreed upon by Israel and the United States concerning the question of a regional conference on the Middle East:
1. The two countries accept the principle of a regional conference between Israel and the Arab States under the auspices of the United States and the USSR.
2. The two countries agree that the final objective of the negotiations would not lead to the creation of a Palestinian State.
3. The composition of the Palestinian delegation made of personalities from the West Bank and Gaza would be determined with the consent of Israel.
4. The United States would not require the presence of Palestinians from East Jerusalem or Palestinians deported by Israel.
5. Israel refuses all kinds of dialogue with the PLO, and the United States would not resume its dialogue with the organization.
6. The two countries agree that there is no single interpretation of United Nations resolution 242.
7. Resolution 242 will be the object of negotiations at its final stage between Arabs and Israel.
8. The first stage of negotiations will focus on self-government for the population of the West Bank and Gaza. Three years later negotiations on the final status of the territories would commence.
9. The USSR should resume its relations with Israel and accept the principles of the peace process to become a co-sponsor of the regional conference.
Statement delivered by a delegation of Palestinians
from the occupied territory to Mr. James Baker
Jerusalem, 20 April 1991
Following is the statement delivered by a delegation of Palestinians from the occupied territory to the United States Secretary of States Mr. James Baker during their meeting at the United States Consulate General at Jerusalem on 20 April 1991:
"Having reviewed the content and consequences of our previous meetings with you, as well as all other relevant follow-up talks and efforts, we would like to point out the following:
"While the Palestinians have demonstrated a genuine commitment to peace through the PLO's sustained efforts at maintaining a positive dialogue and open channels with the United States, we are still witnessing a perversely obstinate and destructive Israeli response which is manifested in two ways: First, Israel persists in expanding and intensifying its settlement activity and its confiscation of Palestinian lands, while pursuing a policy of horrendous cruelty and repression against the Palestinians under occupation. Second, Israel is imposing unacceptable conditions and constraints on the peace process, thereby dictating its own priorities and parameters as preconditions for its participation in the process. Both are capable of rendering Palestinian participation impossible, and are particularly subversive in that they might be perceived as tainting the American position and efforts with complicity, or at best, with inefficacy. Unless these Israeli policies and measures are firmly checked and halted, the atmosphere will be poisoned with hostility and mistrust, any confidence in the impartiality and fairness of the process will be totally eroded, and the prospects for genuine peace will be seriously jeopardized.
"Of special relevance in this context is the victimization of Palestinians in Kuwait--an issue of particular urgency and moral responsibility which must be solved immediately. We urge the U.S. administration to intervene actively and forcefully to put an end to the detention, torture, killing and expulsion of members of the Palestinian and other non-Kuwaiti communities in Kuwait. The political and moral credibility of the United States, especially in view of its active role and presence in Kuwait following the Gulf war, is at stake. A firm and uniform stance
vis-à-vis human rights violations everywhere must be adopted and applied. The plight of the Palestinians under occupation is rendered even more intolerable by the suffering of the Palestinians in Kuwait. Human rights are universal, and 'confidence-building measures' recognize no boundaries. The peace process must be based on uniform standards of justice, and must be pursued within the framework of legitimacy, comprehensiveness and foresight.
"On the issue of representation, we uphold our right to choose our own legitimate leadership and to designate our own credible interlocutors. Once again, we would like to re-emphasize our allegiance to the PLO, our sole legitimate leadership, and our conviction that only the PLO is empowered to represent, lead and sign agreements on behalf of all the Palestinian people. Any lasting, comprehensive and just peace must be based on the recognition of this fact.
"The substance of the peace process must deal with the implementation of U.N. resolutions and the national rights of the Palestinian people, without digressing into issues of subjective interpretation or being made subservient to Israel's priorities and its
de facto exercise of domination and control.
"The mechanism of the peace process is the U.N.-sponsored international
international conference, and the comprehensive integrated approach remains crucial to the fulfillment of the rights and needs of all parties involved. A full and sustained European participation during the whole course of the process is essential for ensuring its success and for laying the foundations for enhanced regional cooperation and development.
"From the outset, the issue of assurances and guarantees must be addressed and settled in order to prevent Israel from shifting the goalposts, carrying out punitive measures against the Palestinians, violating any interim agreements or sabotaging the process in any other way.
"Any legal frame of reference has to be adopted clearly and openly for the whole process, based on international legitimacy, and binding on all participants. The Palestinian delegation must have recourse to a fixed legal reference especially in the prevailing conditions of asymmetry in power. In addition, the whole process of negotiations as well as the period of implementation of agreements must be carried out within that legal framework.
"The objectives of the peace process require lucidity and unequivocation. The 'land-for-peace' formula must mean an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, the capital of the future Palestinian State. Israeli withdrawal and the exercise of Palestinian sovereignty over the liberated Palestinian lands constitute essential components of any genuine peace process. The Palestinian right to self-determination, the right of return, the right to independence and to the control of our own lands and resources are basic to the exercise of sovereignty.
"We understand that these meetings with you constitute exploratory steps for the purpose of launching a genuine and effective peace process in the right direction and with the participation of genuine representatives. They must not be misconstrued as either negotiations or tacit agreements. The painful and unjust conditions of occupation and the plight of Palestinians in Kuwait unfortunately continue to undermine the possibility of any real peace process and to destroy any confidence in its potential success so long as these inequities are allowed to prevail."
* * *
, 15 April 1991.
dispatch from Jerusalem dated 11 April 1991; also Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-91-070, 11 April 1991, pp. 23-24.
, 22 April 1991.