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Provisional agenda (S/ Agenda/1878)
1. Adoption of the agenda
2. The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question
The meeting was called to order at 11 .25 a.m.
The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question
1 The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decisions taken by the Council [1870th- 1877th meetings], I invite the representatives of Algeria, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Roland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Republic and Yugoslavia, in conformity the usual practice and the relevant provisions of the Charter and the provisional rules of procedure, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote. In accordance with the decision taken by the Council [1870th meeting], I invite the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in the discussion.
Mr. Al-Shaikhly (Iraq), Mr. Bishara (Kuwait), Mr. El Hassen (Mauritania), Mr. Zaimi (Morocco), Mr. Jaroszek (Poland), Mr. Jamal (Qatar), Mr. Baroody (Saudi Arabia), Mr. Medani (Sudan), Mr. Driss (Tunisia), Mr. Ghobash (United Arab Emirates), Mr. Sallam (Yemen Arab Republic) and Mr. Petric (Yugoslavia) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber.
2. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now continue its examination of the question on its agenda. The first speaker is the representative of Democratic Yemen. In accordance with the established practice, I request the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to withdraw temporarily from the Council table in order that his place may be taken by the representative of Democratic Yemen. I invite that representative to take that place at the Council table and to make his statement.
3. Mr. ASHTAL (Democratic Yemen): Deeply saddened by the death of Premier Chou En-lai, my Government has already conveyed its condolences to the Government and people of China. May I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the late Premier Chou En-lai, a towering figure in world politics and a brilliant leader of the Chinese people.
4. It is with a sense of pride that my delegation participates in this debate under your wise presidency and youthful dynamism, a dynamism surpassed only by your country's leading role in Africa.
5. To the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) participating in the work of the Security Council for the first time, we say welcome. It took four major wars in the Middle East and the phenomenal resistance of the Palestinian people for its sole representatives to be invited by the Council to plead their case. It might take a few more wars and a lot of violence for them to be represented in the Council as a full State Member of the United Nations, unless the Security Council acts responsibly to discharge the mandate entrusted to it under the Charter. That, naturally, takes a little more than setting down general principles and guidelines.
6. The question of Palestine remains at the heart of the Arab-Zionist conflict. Even the apologists for Israeli policies have come to acknowledge that fact, although with great pain. Let there be no illusions: the recognition of the Palestine question as the core of the conflict in the Middle East is the result of the valiant and heroic struggle and armed resistance of the Palestinian people, supported by the Arab masses and all international progressive forces. For it is evident that rights are not granted out of compassion, even by a big Power like the United States; they are taken by force if need be. The semantic bickering, then, about Palestinian rights, interests or concerns will only prove to be an exercise in political sophistry.
7. We have come a long way from resolution 242 (1967), which refers to the Palestinian people as anonymous refugees with a problem. Although the author of that resolution described it as a "balanced whole",1/ it is neither balanced nor whole. Nor, for that matter, is it holy, because nothing about United Nations resolutions, or even the Charter, is sacrosanct. At a time when even the Charter itself is being reviewed, why should resolution 242 (1967) be considered the only prescription for the political ills of the Middle East? If it is because of the purported vagueness of that resolution, then it is high time for the Council to be explicit, for over eight years have elapsed since that resolution was adopted and virtually nothing has changed in the field save for some cosmetic alterations. Is it not too much to ask of Egypt and the Syrian Arab Republic, whose territories have been under occupation ever since? And what of the Palestinian people, whose homeland had been usurped long before 1967?
8. In accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter, resolution 242 (1967) should have in the first instance condemned the outright Israeli aggression. But, instead, it complied with the demand of the aggressor and ignored the Palestine question completely. Far from being holy, that resolution was the result of cold-war power politics. The noble principles of the Charter were all but shelved in a clear attempt to legitimize the alien Zionist entity. In any case, we are now in 1976, and what might have seemed to be a divine truth in 1967 is liable to have changed today. That is exactly why the October war of 1973 took place. And although that war was inconclusive, the message was clear: the balance of power in the Middle East is not an eternally fixed equation; it is in a state of flux and to the advantage of the just cause of the Palestinian and Arab peoples. The oil crisis was only a reminder that the conflict in the Middle East has a strong spill-over effect far beyond that region. To disregard that message and its far-reaching consequences would be a grave miscalculation, an obsession with the form rather than the content.
9. If it is felt that the function of the Security Council is to adopt "resolutions with a semantic balance, then that is far short of the mandate entrusted to it to maintain international peace and security. And if resolutions such as resolution 242 (1967) are only to reflect the balance of forces of the adversaries at a given time, regardless of rights and principles, then the best resolution of conflicts would be on the battlefield—and he who endures most will finally win, for those who might seem weak today can be powerful tomorrow. The Council, then, would just take note of the situation and perhaps in a balanced way.
10. Under the subtitle "Functions and Powers” Article 24 of the Charter says:
"In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf."
11. Now if the Security Council is entrusted with the responsibility to act on behalf of the Members of the United Nations, then it is in duty bound to take the general views of the Member States into consideration. Those views have taken concrete form in numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on the question of Palestine and the Middle East problem. Is the Council, then, to ignore those resolutions altogether? Mr. Scali once spoke of the tyranny of the majority in the General Assembly. Can we not—perhaps in anticipation—speak of the tyranny of the veto against the majority both in the Security Council and the General Assembly?
12. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said —and I quote The Jerusalem Post Weekly of 18 December 1974: "Normally a good agreement leaves both sides happy. In the Middle East, it is when both sides are equally unhappy."
13. If resolution 242 (1967) is to be the basis for such an agreement, then one side, Israel, is certainly happy and a party on the other side, the PLO, is not only unhappy but is not even recognized by that resolution. The other two parties on the other side, Egypt and the Syrian Arab Republic, are far from being happy, notwithstanding any tranquillizing steps taken here or there. That is exactly why the Security Council is discussing the whole issue today. Any mere reaffirmation of resolution 242 (1967), which did not work and which cannot work, would simply be an invitation to more violence and even war. And the Council will not promote the chances for peace by simply passing the buck to Geneva.
14. The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is the representative of Cuba. In accordance with established j practice, I should like to request the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to withdraw temporarily j from his seat at the Council table in order that his] place may be taken by the representative of Cuba. I invite that representative to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
15. Mr. ALARCON (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish): Mr. President, first of all I should like to thank you and the other members of the Council for having given me the opportunity to participate in the consideration of the important question now before the Council. Before setting forth my Government's views on the subject, I should like to fulfil an obligation which in this case goes beyond the requirements of courtesy—and convey to you our great pleasure at seeing you presiding over the work of the Council this month. Your talent, experience and diplomatic tact have earned you a well deserved reputation among all the representatives. You have in an admirable manner combined devotion to the principles which guide your Government's foreign policy and inspire the revolutionary peoples of Africa with a skilful working style which is at the same time friendly and direct, cheerful and still profound.
16. Your long and praiseworthy dedication to the cause of decolonization makes your term as President of the Security Council truly symbolic at this time when the African peoples are redoubling their efforts to eliminate completely the scourge and sequels of colonialism and racism. I am particularly pleased to extend this welcome to you because you worthily represent, in the United Nations, as in Cuba, a Government and a people with which my Government and people entertain the most fraternal relations of solidarity and co-operation. We pay a tribute, there-fore, to the United Republic of Tanzania, to President Nyerere and to the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, who have always been in the vanguard of the African struggle for complete emancipation and justice.
17. The Security Council is considering the question of the Middle East and Palestine after the international community, following a lengthy process of study and discussion, defined the cardinal principles that should be at the basis of the quest for peace and Purity in that part of the world. Those criteria turned a more definite form during the last two sessions of the General Assembly, making possible for the first time the consideration of these problems in a just and wise way and thereby creating the bases for a Possible solution.
18. The participation of the PLO in these debates and its recognition as the sole and legitimate representative of its people, which has also been recognized having the inalienable right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty, are the most salient features of the deep change which the Organization and the international community have brought about in the treatment of this question during the past two I am pleased to note that the Security Council has been receptive to that change and has agreed to invite the PLO to participate in this debate. I welcome the presence here of the representatives of the heroic Palestinian people, and I take this opportunity to renew the expressio... of deep solidarity of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba.
19. The PLO must participate on an equal footing in all discussions and meetings dealing with questions of the Middle East, since the Palestine problem has been at the origin and very centre of the succession of conflicts in that region of the world for a number of decades. We believe that we have reached a point where the basic principles that should govern the consideration of the Palestine question at the international level have been sufficiently, defined so that all I need do now is repeat my Government's support for them.
20. Three basic principles should govern any solution to the Palestinian tragedy. Above all, the Palestinian people must be permitted to exercise its right to repatriation, to return to the homes and lands of which it was unjustly and brutally dispossessed. Secondly, that people must be allowed to exercise a sacred and inalienable right that belongs to all the peoples of the world: the right to self-determination, the power to decide for itself what its destiny should be. Thirdly, as an expression of that right, there is the right to establish a sovereign and independent State in Palestine.
21. The world has achieved a large degree of consensus on the validity of those three basic requirements for solving the Palestine problem, just as it has achieved a large degree of consensus on the way to resolve the crisis among the States of the Middle East that began with the 1967 war; the absolute prerequisite is the complete withdrawal Of all the Israeli forces from the Arab territories occupied since that date.
22. The United Nations, through the General Assembly, has categorically expressed its opinion in that respect by repeated resolutions adopted with the affirmative votes of a considerable majority of its membership. That is why the Security Council should be in a position now to take the necessary measures that will enable this important body of the United Nations to get in step with the views of the over-whelming majority of the Members of the Organization, to carry out its essential obligations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and to make an effective contribution to the promotion of those ideals in the Middle East as well.
23. Hence, we regard as very useful and necessary the initiative taken by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic in pressing for this debate. I take this opportunity to repeat our support for the Government and people of the Syrian Arab Republic in their struggle to put an end to foreign aggression, to regain their usurped territories, and to assert their people's inalienable right to live in peace and security.
24. The struggle of the Arab peoples to put an end to Israeli aggression and its after-effects and the struggle of the Arab people of Palestine to exercise their national rights have today found powerful support in the international community. Those struggles are sustained, on the one hand, by the solidarity of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries and, on the other, by that of all the non-aligned countries and the peoples of the world, which have been expressing with increasing firmness their support for the just struggle of the Arabs peoples. None the less, it is essential that the international community, and in particular the Security Council, should take action that will make it possible to reactivate the process leading to a settlement in that part of the world.
25. The Middle East for many years has been and indeed continues to be today a source of conflict and a threat to international peace. The international community, through the General Assembly, has expressed its concern over this situation. It has called upon the competent bodies in the system, and in particular the Security Council, to abide by their obligations to liquidate that hotbed of tension and threats. We do not know whether the Council is in a position to carry out its responsibilities now, but members of the Council, particularly those who support Israel's policies in that area of the world, should understand that the general universal movement expressed through the General Assembly will not be halted and that history is on the side of the peoples who are victims of aggression and on the side of the Arab peoples, and sooner or later it will assert its will.
26. The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is the representative of Czechoslovakia. In accordance with established practice, I request the representative of Egypt to withdraw temporarily from the Council table in order that his place may be taken by the representative of Czechoslovakia. I now invite that representative to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
27. Mr. SMID (Czechoslovakia): Mr. President, at the outset of my statement I should like to greet you as an outstanding representative of an African State and of the African continent. The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic has always been a friend of the people of Africa fighting against colonialism, neo-colonialism and racism. The delegation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic sincerely wishes you success in your responsible work as President of the Security Council. I should also like to thank you and the members of the Council for allowing the delegation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic to participate in the discussion on this problem which is so important for international peace.
28. The Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic has, during the recent period, several times expressed at the forum of the United Nations its opinion concerning the solution of the Middle East conflict and emphasized the necessity of its settlement by peaceful means. It also has stressed the fact that the settlement of the Palestinian question re-presents an inseparable part of the normalization of the situation in the Middle East. Czechoslovakia has always maintained the position that a permanent solution of the conflict is not possible without securing the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine. Permanent peace and a just solution for States and nations in that region can be attained on by an over-all political settlement in which the important historical aspects of the situation in the East would not be ignored.
29. Important progress in this respect is represented by General Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) 3375 (XXX), 3376 (XXX) and 3414 (XXX). We have welcomed the fact that the Security Council has assumed a realistic view of the present situation and has invited the PLO to participate in these deliberations. This positive development, marked by the negotiations of the Security Council last November in connexion with the adoption of resolution 381 (1975, of 30 November 1975 again confirms the fact that the Palestinian question is not merely a problem of refugees and a purely humanitarian question, but a pressing political problem, the solution of which is of paramount and decisive importance for the preservation of peace in the Middle East.
30. It is not possible to seek any way towards the solution of the conflict without the participation of political representatives of the Palestinian people—the PLO. The participation of the PLO, the legitimate representative of the people of Palestine, in all negotiations in search of a permanent, peaceful settlement, from the very beginning and on the basis of equal rights, is the indispensable prerequisite for the viability of such negotiations. This should be understood by all interested parties.
31. Czechoslovakia has always supported the just struggle of the Arab peoples against aggression, not only during the period of military conflicts but likewise at present, when the time is ripe for substantial progress in the negotiations on a peaceful solution of the long-lasting, complex and dangerous conflict in the Middle East.
32. The absence of a solution of the unsatisfactory situation in the Middle East represents a great danger for world peace and international security. The cause of that situation is the fact that Israeli ruling circles refuse to implement the respective United Nations resolutions, including those of the Security Council. They refuse to leave all Arab territories occupied in 1967, and they refuse to recognize the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine. Only the complete withdrawal of the Israeli troops from all Arab lands occupied in 1967 and the realization of the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including its inalienable right to the establishment of its own State, can lead to the attainment lasting peace in the Middle East. Support of compliance with those demands is the basic prerequisite for a just and peaceful solution which would safeguard the rights of all States of that region sovereign and independent existence and development.
33. The appropriate international machinery, the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, has been created for the very purpose of settling this conflict on a peaceful basis. It has been established in the spirit of the aims of the United Nations and in harmony with its principles. Partial steps which bypass the Geneva Conference, avoiding key problems of the settlement, have naturally failed to bring desirable results. In fact, they can play into the hands of those who strive for aggravation of the situation and postponement of the basic solution.
34. Recent developments have shown that the aggressor and the circles supporting it are beginning 10 find themselves in international isolation. It is not difficult to see who is really interested in the attainment of a just and permanent settlement and who is curbing and sabotaging that process. Present developments call for all those who are striving for a just solution in the Middle East to assist in the unity of the Arab States and nations on an anti-imperialist basis.
35. The resumption of the activity of the Geneva Conference represents a constructive answer to the pressing need of the present time. All interested parties, including the PLO, should participate on an equal basis from the very start of the resumption of that Conference. The participation of the Arab people of Palestine represented by the PLO is the subject of a request that was supported also by the General Assembly in its resolution 3375 (XXX) of 10 November 1975. Only in such a forum can an over-all basic political solution of the conflict in the Middle East be reached.
36. As in the previous statements on this question, we similarly stressed the fact that Czechoslovakia considers itself a part of those forces which are endeavouring to achieve a political settlement of the whole complex situation in the Middle East by peaceful means and through negotiations. This corresponds with the principles of our foreign policy, determined by the interests of peace, international security and Progress; likewise it corresponds with our traditional friendship with the Arab States and nations.
37. The PRESIDENT: As I have no more speakers on my list for the current debate, I should now like speak in my capacity as representative of the UNITED REPUBLIC TAZANIA. Before speak on the subject on the agenda, I wish to associate the Tanzanian delegation fully with the statement that made as President of the Council expressing our Wound grief at the death of Premier Chou En-lai [1870th meeting]. The sad news of his death came as a great shock to the Government, the Party and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania. The Tanzanian people, who now enjoy great friendship co-operation with the Chinese people, remember Premier Chou En-lai as one of the outstanding pioneers architects of the warm and flourishing relations between our two countries. In fact he personally came to the United Republic of Tanzania as a pioneer of the existing ties, and his name has ever since signified and will continue to signify our friendship with the Chinese people. Therefore the United Republic of Tanzania considers the passing away of Premier Chou En-lai as its own loss. However, over and above the loss that countries like mine feel is the collective loss inflicted on the international community with the passing away of a leader of such outstanding calibre, qualities and impact, for Chou En-lai's eminent statesmanship and personal contribution to world peace and justice have been recognized throughout the world. Therefore his untimely death has deprived the world community of one of the greatest personalities instrumental in the pursuit of world peace and justice. On behalf of the Tanzanian delegation, I wish to request the Chinese delegation to convey to the Chinese Government and people our deep sorrow and sympathy on this sad occasion.
38. Coming back to the item before the Council, I should like in the first place to welcome warmly the representatives of the PLO to this crucial consideration of the Middle East problem. Their presence and contribution in the Security Council are certainly an essential element for fruitful consideration of the problem. The PLO, which represents a party directly concerned in the problem, has to be heard in any negotiations or talks dealing with the Middle East problem. As it is the authentic representative of the Palestinian people, its presence in our midst not only is logical but will certainly serve to enrich greatly the Council's capacity to proceed in a serious and constructive way in the search for a solution to the burning problem before us. Indeed the Security Council has already been enriched by an important and in-depth contribution made by the head of the PLO delegation, Mr. Khaddoumi, in his statement in the Council on 12 January [ibid.].
39. This occasion, when we are for the first time undertaking a consideration of the whole question of the Middle East, including its root cause, is a great opportunity for all the parties to make a concerted effort at reaching a final, just and peaceful settlement of the whole problem. The decision of one of the parties concerned to be absent from the meeting means that a great opportunity is missed. Therefore we deeply regret that Israel has refused to come and participate in the Council's current meetings. Even at this rather late hour, my delegation would like to see Israel abandon its boycott of the Council and take a responsible position by joining the other parties concerned in this serious debate. That the reason for its absence is its refusal to recognize the PLO as a party to the Middle East problem is the more lamentable as the Palestinian people constitutes a reality Israel cannot afford to ignore. A logical extension of this reality is the fact that the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and has been recognized as such by the world. There can be no lasting peace in the Middle East unless these
realities are recognized. There can be no just and peaceful solution if the PLO, which represents an aggrieved party, is ignored. Therefore the sooner Israel comes to terms with these realities the better the prospects of peace in the Middle East. It is, further-more, ironic that Israel, whose spokesmen have in the past consistently advocated dialogue and direct negotiations, has chosen to be away and let slip the opportunity for that very dialogue which the Security Council discussion has provided.
40. By coincidence, no time is more fitting than this to undertake an over-all examination of the problem before us. These meetings of the Security Council have been convened pursuant to Council resolution 381 (1975), whose main purpose was to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), but the meetings come just as we are entering a new phase in the life of the United Nations.
41. Thirty years have gone by since the United Nations was founded to bring peace on earth. This goal, for which the United Nations was created, has still to be reached; for, although the United Nations may rightly pride itself on its achievements else-where, the Middle East problem stands out as one of its greatest disappointments. The Middle East problem not only has been with the world community for the past 30 years, concurrent with the existence of the Organization, but has, like a malignant cancer, grown worse and affected almost every part of the globe.
42. As we are entering the next phase of the Organization, it is only desirable that we make a fresh resolution to rededicate our efforts to ensure the liquidation of all existing conflicts, especially those like that of the Middle East which, besides being long overdue for solution, are threatening the very effectiveness of the Organization. Any further protraction of the problem of the Middle East may mean another man-made catastrophe.
43. Therefore we hope and believe that this opportunity will not be wasted. We believe that Council members will do everything within their ability to ensure the laying of a foundation for speeding up fruitful negotiations on the Middle East problem. In particular, we hope that the Council will act in accordance with the requirements of the' realities of the situation bearing in mind that such an opportunity as we now have may not be so readily available again. The Tanzanian delegation wishes to assure the Council of its total co-operation and commitment to do every-thing possible to make the Council's session on this serious problem a fruitful one.
44. The issues in the problem of the Middle East, compounded by the tortuous evolution of the problem, are in themselves very intricate, but this phenomenon has been rendered the more confusing to the general international public by the barrage of rhetoric, provocations and tides of emotion. The point has now bee reached when the original issue seems to have bee almost forgotten.
45. Today, the impression is sometimes given that the cause and effect of the Middle East problem are the raging hostilities between the Arab States on one hand, and Israel on the other. The issue of the rights of the Palestinian people, which generated the problem has been relegated, as it were, to a simple problem of refugees arising from, but not responsible for, the Arab-Israeli conflict.
46. Such a misleading conception of the problem can only continue to obfuscate the issues and dangerously to protract the problem. For unless the underlying causes are examined and viewed in their proper perspective, the consequential issues cannot lend themselves to a solution. Instead, we shall continue to be baffled by a vicious circle and this only helps those who are interested in perpetuating the state of affairs for their own ulterior motives.
47. Those of us who were not present when the United Nations created the State of Israel but who have come to accept that decision have been informed that the actions of the Organization were taken out of sympathy for the wrongs done to the Jews by nazism. Although other places for the resettlement had been proposed, the United Nations deemed it I appropriate to provide room for them in Palestine. But Palestine did not belong to the Jewish community alone. In fact Jews constituted then a much smaller percentage of the whole population than the non-Jewish community. If the Jews were morally or otherwise entitled to a homeland, it is equally important to recognize that the equality of men demands that the rights and interests of one people, especially a people that were already inhabiting the land, should not be subjected to those of others. Evil should not be remedied by or through the intentional creation of another evil.
48. The existence of Israel as a State is a reality we cannot and should not ignore. But, it is as much a reality that today we have a people deprived of their homeland—the Palestinians. When in 1947 the United Nations sanctioned the birth of Israel, it did so against the horrifying background of the persecution and sufferings inflicted upon the Jewish people by Nazi Germany. It would be futile here to try and examine the merits and demerits of that decision. One can argue passionately and rationally that the remedy for one injustice is not to create another one. Yet one observation here is very pertinent. The unintended effect of the United Nations decision was that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to assume the status of refugees with all the attendant misery and squalor. And the injustice done to the Palestinians becomes all the more glaring when we bear in mind that neither the Palestinians nor the Arabs in general had anything to do with the persecution of the Jews.
And certainly, if the international community had been moved in 1947 to take certain measures, bearing in mind the long history of persecution of the Jewish people, it could certainly be expected to be no less sensitive today to the long sufferings and persecution of the Palestinian people.
49. Furthermore, if the United Nations accepts, as it in fact has done since 1947 when it sanctioned the Partition Plan,2 that the Palestinians are, like the Jews, as much entitled to a homeland as any other people, we cannot but also accept that we have a responsibility to remedy the situation and restore that right to the Palestinians.
50. The defence of human rights and the liberation of man continue to be the mission and responsibility of the Organization. The United Nations cannot afford to see its own action of establishing the State of Israel turned into an opportunity for the perpetuation of the very policies it sought to condemn and reject. At the same time, if the world community failed to endorse and champion the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, it would seriously erode any argument of those who sought to justify the United Nations action on moral principles.
51. However one looks at or explains the situation, there are in existence today facts which are common knowledge to the entire world community. Israel has forcibly acquired and illegally occupies a number of neighbouring Arab territories, including Jerusalem, from which it has refused to withdraw. Israel is responsible for the homelessness and misery of the Palestinian people. This very Organization has determined that Israel has also committed war crimes and continues to violate the Geneva Conventions of 1949 concerning the respect for human rights in armed conflicts. All these acts have been in furtherance of the injustice already committed against the Palestinians when they were first dispossessed and uprooted from their homeland. It is equally recognized that all these acts are contraventions of the Charter of the United Nations, anomalies needing immediate termination and redress. The numerous resolutions of the United Nations on this matter are clear testimony of this bareness.
52. One truth which is beyond question is that the jetties to the conflict want peace. They may differ in their qualification of this goal. One party may wish Set peace that means quiet enjoyment of the spoils has taken from others, while others want not peace at all costs, but peace with justice. It may also be that while all want peace, the initial wrong has generated so much misunderstanding, distrust and confusion that communication has broken down between them making it impossible to agree on the manner of achieving that peace. Still the fact remains all of them crave for peace.
53. The task of the Security Council is to disentangle Problems which have made communication impossible between the parties, and to bring its influence to bear on them in order that they may find a permanent solution to the problem. In its efforts to search for a solution, the United Nations has left no stone unturned. The records of the United Nations abound in these efforts. Similar efforts have been exerted by Members of the United Nations on their own initiative. These also are well known and need no elaboration. To the disenchantment of the world community, peace has continued to elude us. In its place, more hostilities and more injustices are brought to our attention. It is, therefore, the right time for us seriously to look into the underlying causes of these failures to realize that desired peace, and to make a fresh attempt to obtain it.
54. In 1967, the Council adopted a resolution to which constant reference has been made, namely, resolution 242 (1967). That resolution came in the wake of one of the most traumatic experiences in the Middle East problem, an experience which compelled the Council to review the entire question of the Middle East. As such, the resolution was a serious attempt to take into account the factors which were responsible for the trouble. It indeed marked a watershed in the entire process of the search for peace in the Middle East. Henceforth, the resolution formed the basis of all subsequent negotiations on the subject.
55. Later developments, however, have brought out two facts with regard to resolution 242 (1967). On one hand, the resolution was one of the most serious attempts to define the prerequisites for the immediate cessation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. On the other hand, it had two flaws. The first was that it was not accurate enough to be unsusceptible of misinterpretations. The second was that the issue of the rights of the Palestinians was not given adequate treatment. With good faith and genuine intentions on the part of the parties concerned, however, that resolution should have been able to facilitate the negotiations which were embarked upon subsequently.
56. Two principles were announced with fairly satisfactory clarity in resolution 242 (1967), namely, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and the respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and its right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. These principles are stated in the preambular part of the resolution and are related to the Middle East situation in the operative part.
57. It is our view that the operative paragraph referring to these two principles is only a corollary .of the statement of principles in the preambular paragraph. Specifically, once the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war had been determined it was not even necessary to mention that all territories acquired by war had to be returned to their lawful owners. By the same token, the principle of the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State having been reaffirmed, it was simply a question of style to repeat it in both the preambular and operative parts. After all, both these principles are clearly laid down in, and in fact reproduced from, the Charter of the United Nations, to which both Israel and the Arab States are parties. Resolution 242 (1967) could never validly depart or be intended to depart from the provisions of the Charter. It is there-fore absolutely absurd to assert that that resolution in total contravention of the Charter could condone annexation by Israel by force of any part of Arab territory. It simply did not and could not do so.
58. We therefore consider that to attempt to capitalize on linguistic deficiency, especially to interpret the resolution as contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, is not only to act in bad faith but also deliberately to reject the ideals and principles of the Charter itself. This rejection is all the more outrageous when accompanied, as it is, by a conduct which manifests no intention of change of attitude. We know, for example, that Israel is establishing permanent settlements in the occupied territories. Such facts, deliberately created, only serve to complicate the problem. It is all the more deplorable that the creation of such "new facts" seems to be part and parcel of the policies of the Israeli authorities. The recent announcement of creating new settlements in the Golan Heights reinforces our concern on this aspect of Israeli policies which can only be described as obstructive to the goals of peace.
59. In a major foreign policy address at the Party National Conference at Mwanza, on 16 October 1967, my President, Mualimu Julius K. Nyerere, inter alia, made the following remarks concerning the Middle East situation:
"In expressing our hope that a peaceful settlement of this terribly difficult situation will soon become possible, it is necessary for us to accept two things. First, that Israel's desire to be acknowledged as a nation is understandable. But secondly, and equally important, that Israel's occupation of Arab territories of Egypt, Jordan and Syria must be brought to an end. Israel must evacuate the areas it overran in June of this year —without exception—before it can reasonably expect that the Arab countries will begin to acquiesce in its national presence."
And the President went on to stress that Israel must "accept that the United Nations which sanctioned its birth is, and must be, unalterably opposed to territorial aggrandizement by force or threat of force."
60. That was the position of the United Republic of Tanzania, articulated over eight years ago; that remains the Tanzanian position today. Nothing has h to justify any alterations of my Government's policies. If anything, the events of the last eight years only reinforced our conviction that, in the words of President Nyerere, "we cannot condone on any pretext, nor accept victory in war as a justification for the exploitation of other lands, or government over other peoples." Nor has the United Republic Tanzania changed its position in respect of recognition of the State of Israel.
61. As to the Palestinian question, it is true that the Palestinians were not mentioned by name in resolution 242 (1967) but by the reference to refugees m the region. Nevertheless, it cannot be seriously asserted that the Palestinian problem was to be take purely as a refugee problem. Standing out very clearly in that resolution is the emphasis on the need for, just and lasting peace in the region. Indeed, the wording of the provision on refugees also stresses the necessity for a just settlement of the problem Thus, if not in words, certainly in spirit, the authors of that resolution must have recognized that it would be both unjust and unrealistic to contemplate a settlement of the Middle East problem without due cognizance of the rights of the Palestinians.
62. The justice referred to throughout resolution 242 (1967) cannot be partial. It has to be real justice. In this case, it is among other things and above all the right of a people to self-determination an independence. This right was re-emphasized as late as last year when the General Assembly adopted resolution: 3376 (XXX) stressing the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty.
63. The very Partition Plan as adopted by the United Nations in 1947 contemplated, though in an unsatisfactory manner, that the Palestinians would also exercise their right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty. Those who voted for the Partition Plan and now seem to equivocate on the inalienable national rights of the Palestinians would do well to ponder the consequences of such a volte-face on their part. Of course we are aware that the sub-sequent conduct of Israel completely prevented the Palestinians from even making use of the Partition plan.
64. However, neither the conduct of Israel nor any belated repudiation of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians by those who find it convenient to do so could extinguish the right of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians had this right during the British colonial period, they continued to have it when resolution 242 (1967) was adopted and they have it no less at this moment. If Israel can claim the right to be recognized—and many peoples and States, including my own, have recognized it—one would have thought that the case for the recognition of the Palestinian right was even more compelling. Indeed, at least to the extent that Israel desires recognition from the Palestinians, it cannot but show the example itself. Unless and until it does so, it cannot expect similar recognition from the Palestinians.
65. It was the denial to the Palestinians of the exercise of this right which was the underlying cause of the Middle East problem; it remains the essence of the matter. Even the problem of forcible territorial acquisition and acts of aggression which has featured more prominently in recent years is only a ramification of that original question.
66. It is therefore imperative that the Security Council should categorically and without ambiguity affirm this inalienable national right of the Palestinians. To do so would be in conformity with the Charter itself and the many resolutions of the United Nations. To act in that manner would be addressing ourselves to the central issue of the Middle East conflict.
67. As we are fully aware, despite the hope provided by resolution 242 (1967) and other relevant United Nations resolutions, indeed despite the clear provisions of the Charter, the intensive efforts of the Organization have not yet yielded results. It is also very clear that throughout the process of the search for a solution in the Middle East, the major obstacle has been the refusal by one party to the conflict to adhere to the principles of the Charter, In so doing that party has been using the technique of deliberate misinterpretation of resolution 242 (1967) so as to rationalize its actions on the problem. It is clearly a deliberate misinterpretation, because in spite of the clarity of the Charter itself and in spite of the unanimity of other resolutions in reaffirming the Charter principles, that party alone has sought to use lame sophistry to defeat some of the most important principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
68. There can therefore be no doubt as to what are the duties and responsibilities of the parties to the conflict under the Charter of the United Nations, Nor is world opinion unaware of who is responsible for the frustration of the efforts for a just and lasting Peace. The United Nations abounds in testimony on these questions. In fact, outside the United Nations to well evidence abounds as to the motives of the responsible for the deadlock and tension in the I have, for example, already alluded to Israeli policies of establishing permanent settlements in the occupied territories, which it knows very well are not its territories, and from which the international community has unequivocally demanded its withdrawal.
69. What is perplexing and disappointing to the international community is no longer why the United Nations has failed to work out a solution of the problem—for the solution has been amply elaborated and offered to the parties concerned, but unfortunately rejected by one of them—but, rather, why the party responsible has chosen so to reject it in spite of the censure of the United Nations and world opinion at large.
70. There would seem to be two options or courses of action. One is the adoption by Israel of the political will to come to terms with the realities and accept a just and lasting solution for peace. The other is the concerted action of the United Nations in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter, to which Israel is a party.
71. So far the United Nations has confined itself to the former course of action. The United Nations has endeavoured to persuade and even to threaten Israel into changing its attitude. But it is self-evident that so far we have not succeeded. A solution in keeping with the first option or course of action would certainly be most desirable for, given the political goodwill of the parties, a solution could be worked out that would take into account all the legitimate rights of the parties and would ensure its own permanency. That is indeed what we still call upon Israel to adopt.
72. Needless to say, no forum whatsoever will yield any peaceful result if one of the parties continues to harbour unjustified ulterior motives ab initio If that is the case, the time must therefore come when the United Nations has to take more realistic and effective action in accordance with the Charter. It will have to do so because it is both an obligation on its part as well as the only course of action left to it. For the facts give us no options in reality. We either have to act effectively or face another conflagration in the Middle East with far-reaching repercussions for all of us. The portents are too obvious to ignore. Above all, time is not with us, for a solution to the problem is long overdue. We entirely agree with all those of our colleagues who stated before us that these meetings of the Security Council afford us both an opportunity and a challenge. It is the belief of the Tanzanian delegation that all the members of the Council will face this challenge with maximum responsibility.
The meeting rose at 12.30 p.m.
1/ See Official Records of the Security Council. Twenty-second Year, 1379th meeting, para. 19.
2/ See General Assembly resolution 181 (II).