1. Action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Letter dated 6 October 1981 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People addressed to the Secretary-General (A/36/578-S/14719)
It is obvious that this violence, which the committee strongly condemns, is the result of Israeli’s continued illegally occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories and of the policy it is pursuing in the region.
If such acts of violence are repeated, they can only exacerbate tension in the area. Emergency measures must be taken to put an end to the Israeli policies that are endangering international peace and security.
In my capacity as Chairman of the committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People I wish to refer to the most recent news reports concerning the establishment by Israel of new settlements in the illegally occupied Arab territories. According to these report, Simha Ehrlich, Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Settlements, is said to have revealed that the Israeli Government is prepared to establish four new settlements and to expand and “strengthen” the existing settlements.
The pursuit of this policy, which is aimed at changing the demographic character of the occupied territories, in violation of the fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1948 1/ and in spite of international public opinion and the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, shows once again that Israel’s persistence in this attitude constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
It is of the greatest importance that the United Nations and especially the Security Council should, as a matter of Urgency, take energetic steps to protect the international community against the dangers to which it is exposed by the attitude of Israel, which defies world public opinion and international law.
LETTER DATED 23 OCTOBER 1981 FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL (S/14739)
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has authorized me, in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee, to draw your attention to resolution 35/169, adopted by the General Assembly on 15 December 1980.
In paragraph 4 of that resolution, the general Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People contained in paragraphs 45 of its report (A/35/35) and drew the attention of the Security Council to the need for urgent action thereon.
In paragraph 13 of the same resolution, the Assembly requested the Security Council to convene in order to consider the situation and the adoption of effective measures under Chapter VII of the Charter, in the light of Israel’s non-compliance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution ES-7/2 and Security council resolutions 465 (1980) and 478 (1980) and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
It is envisaged that the General Assembly will consider agenda item 31, entitled “Question of Palestine”, in plenary meeting starting on 1 December 1981, and the committee would therefore be very grateful if the Security Council would kindly consider the Assembly’s request and take action on it before that date.
The Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference held a co-ordination meeting at the following communiqué was issued in connexion with the question of Palestine and the Middle East:
The question of Palestine and the Middle East was the centre of these questions. The conference of Foreign Ministers of Islamic States reaffirmed in this connexion that the most serious danger which the Islamic Community (Ummah) faces is the continuing Zionist occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories. In fact, the Zionist entity has continued to intensify its acts of aggression, which are directed internally against the occupied territories in Palestine and particularly in Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem), where the al-Aqsa mosque is being subject to a large scales destruction operation, and externally against Lebanon and the Palestinian refugee camps, with the aim of exterminating them, as well as against the nuclear installations in Iraq. The Conference emphasized the necessity of undertaking concrete action, particularly in the United Nations, to face the situation and to set up a follow-up committee on this subject. The Conference of Foreign Ministers condemned all actions and measures aimed at imposing the provisions of the Camp David agreements on the Palestinian people (and reaffirmed its support of the struggle of the Palestinian people) to achieve by all means their inalienable national rights under the direction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
While condemning the strategic agreements concluded or to e concluded between the United States of America and Israel, the Conference of Foreign Ministers:
(a) Underlined that these agreements aim at liquidating the Palestinian cause, at consolidating the Israeli entity, at perpetuating the occupation and impeding the implementation of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which can threaten the security and peace in the Arab countries and in the Islamic world.
(b) Warned the United States of America against the continuation of a hostile policy towards the Arab nation and the Islamic world, and called for a reconsideration of this policy and for abandoning the Israeli-American strategic agreements, as this policy and for abandoning the Israeli-American strategic agreements, as this type of agreement and strategic co-operation places the United States in a position of confrontation and hostility towards the Islamic world.
1. On the 3rd August 1981 the Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries considered an invitation by the Palestine Liberation Organization and decided that admission of its members should be despatched to Lebanon to examine and assess the damage and destruction resulting from Israeli attacks on Beirut and areas in Southern Lebanon.
2. The mission which visited Lebanon comprised Cuba (Chairman) Afghanistan, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, India, Jamaica and Yugoslavia. Nigeria which was originally a member was not able to send a representative.
4. The mission visited Lebanon from the 20th to 23rd August 1981. In the context of examining and assessing the damage and destruction resulting from Israeli attacks on Beirut and areas in Southern Lebanon, the mission had an opportunity of acquainting itself with the living conditions and various activities of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
5. The mission followed the following programme:-
(i) Visit to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), discussions with Dr. Fathi Arafat, Head of the PRCS and with PRCS officials and a tour of Palestinian hospitals;
(ii) Discussions with Colonel Abu Hmaid, Chief of the PLO Armed struggle Forces (Military Police);
(iii) Visit to areas in Beirut which suffered damage and destruction from the Israeli attack;
(iv) Dinner and discussions with Mr. Abu Ja’afar, Director of the Political Department of the PLO;
(v) Meeting with His Excellency Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and General commander of the Palestinian Forces;
(vi) Tour of Samed Workshops and discussions with officials;
(vii) Discussions with Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of The Political Department of the P.L.O.;
(viii) Tour of Southern Lebanon including areas damaged and destroyed by Israeli attacks;
(ix) Reception by the mission’s Chairman at the Embassy of Cuba to Lebanon.
6. On the morning of the 20th August, 1981, the mission visited the Palestine Red Crescent Society and had discussions with Dr. Fathi Arafat, its head and with other officials of the Society. Following the meeting, members of the mission accompanied by Miss Hadla Ayoubi of the PRCS toured Acre Hospital Haifa Hospital and Gaza Surgical Hospital.
7. Dr. Arafat informed the mission that the PRCS had established thirty-five hospitals and medical centres and one hundred clinics to serve the needs of the Palestinians. The hospitals are in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syrian, ten of them being in Lebanon. Two of the hospitals in Lebanon were destroyed during Israeli raids. He made the point that the Israelis did not distinguish between civilians and military personnel when they attacked. He reported that the raid in July resulted in approximately 2500 casualties and 1000 deaths. He expressed appreciation to those friendly countries, including Libya, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, Norway, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, most Arab countries and some Western countries which sent 150 doctors to Lebanon after the raids. He added that most of these doctors had returned to their countries.
8. Dr. Arafat informed the mission that PRCS provides medical services either free or at minimal charge. Those eligible for free medical attention are families of warriors, relatives of those killed, employees of revolutionary organizations and persons who cannot afford to pay. Medications are always free. He added that the PLO hospitals and clinics in Lebanon are open not only to Palestinians but also to Lebanese people. The Society, he said, receives technical and financial support from Socialist countries, Arab countries and from other friendly countries as well as from individuals such as Palestinians living in the U.S.A. (W.H.O. contributed $600,000). When asked what were the needs of PRCS, Dr. Arafat stressed that the real solution to the problem of the Palestinians people is the establishment of the Palestinian state. The PRCS, he said, needs additional personnel including specialists and nurse trainers.
10. During the hospital tour, Miss Ayoubi informed the mission’s members that the only chronic diseases in the refugee camps are those resulting from deficiencies in the dwellings, for example, bronchial diseases and diarrhoea.
11. The Haifa Hospital for paraplegics is Burga Barajine refugee camp and is still under construction. The mission on its tour of the hospital was informed that the construction is regarded as a project for the International Year of the Handicapped. Despite the construction, the hospital accommodates paraplegics and the mission members observed these doing handicrafts, carpentry and metal craft. The Director of the hospital had benefited from training in Belgrade.
12. Gaza Surgical Hospital is a large multi-story hospital located in the Sabra Refugee Camp. At the time of the mission’s visit, construction was in progress to expand the facilities. The hospital accommodates many patients suffering from war injuries including children who have lost limbs. Included in the staff is a doctor from the GDR. The facilities of the hospital are made available not only to Palestinians but to Lebanese also.
13. On the hospitals tour Miss Ayoubi commented that the PLO is more than a revolutionary organization – it is an organization which has to be relevant to the needs of the people.
Meeting with Colonel Abu H’maid
14. The mission was received by Colonel Abu H’mad, Chief of the PLO Armed Struggle Forces (Military Police). These forces maintain law and order in the Palestinian refugee camps. He gave information on the Israeli attack on Beirut and also on the responsibilities of his Organization.
15. Col. H’maid explained that the Israeli air attack was against the civilian population and not against military targets. The bombing raids resulted in a large number of casualties in Beirut – over 300 killed among 800 casualties. Six buildings, 120 shops and a large number of vehicles were completely destroyed. He gave the information that some families had been completely eliminated, and pointed out that because the attack took place on Friday and the Ramadan days, there were many families in their homes. Two of the rockets were found unexploded. Had they exploded, two more buildings would have been demolished. Some families lost all their members.
16. He explained that the PLO is now financially assisting around 2,000 Lebanese citizens affected by the attack and with the cooperation of the Lebanese authorities, they are seeking new houses for these people.
17. Speaking about the refugee camps in general, he said that not only Palestinians are living in the camps, but also poor people of different nationalities who were receiving help from the PLO. Regarding the organization of the forces, the Colonel said that the country was divided into four regions; Beirut, the East, the South and the North, and that in each of these regions there is a chief. The justice and for legal and civil matters. All the officers were graduates in legal studies. There is also a military attorney. The applicable legal system is based on the mandatory Palestine and the Lebanese legal systems. The Military Police, which has two battalions, also takes on a combat role whenever it is necessary.
18. He informed the mission that although very few criminal offences were committed in the refugee camps, lately in the camps in Beirut, there were some problems relating to drug addiction. He attributed that introduction of drags into the camps to the enemy. He said that all Palestinians in the refugee camps were armed for defence.
Damage and destruction in Beirut
19. The mission visited Alfakeshani in the city of Beirut, where the Israeli attack took place against the civilian population.
20. The mission was informed that the attack which took place at 11.30 a.m. on the 17th July, was carried out with rockets of 2,000 pounds. During half an hour, the Israeli planes attacked twice.
21. The mission saw the remains of six high-rise buildings in the densely populated areas, which were completely destroyed. The mission also observed the damage to adjoined buildings. It is a heavily populated area in the middle of the city. There are multi-story buildings all around. There is no military installation in that area. The place is full of debris and gives a vivid picture of the havoc caused to the civilian population by the Israeli raids even though some of the debris had since been removed. The mission saw horror writ large in the faces of families, men, women and children in windows and balconies as well as people in the streets.
Meeting with Chairman Arafat
22. The mission was received by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization. H.E. Yasser Arafat on August 20, 1961, from 10.40 PM onwards. The meeting lasted nearly two hours.
23, Chairman Arafat warmly greeted the members of the mission and expressed his appreciation of the decision of the Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries to accept his invitation for sending this mission to witness and assess the damage done by the barbarous Israeli bombing on civilian areas in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon.
24. Chairman Arafat gave a detailed account of the 15-days war and his impressions of the situation in the area which is summarized below:
25. The Israelis unleashed a reign of terror in the southern part of Lebanon, particularly in the area formed into a triangle by the towns of Saida, Tyre and Nabatiyah. This virtually become a “Triangle Hell”. According to PLO calculations, the Israelis used 26 shells for every citizen in the region. There was continuous bombing for fifteen days from sun-rise to sun-set. All Palestinian refugee camps from Beirut to the border came under attack. Many roads and bridges were destroyed. The Israelis used all weapons available with them – heavy artillery, four destroyers, 16 torpedo boats, sophisticated planes etc. They even used artillery of 175 calibre, which is the heaviest of its kind. They also used gabriel missiles on Tyre town. The Israelis navy and air force had orders to use all the deadly weapons against the Palestinians. Israel declared that it used 50% of its air force during the war. Their attacks have been described as raids, but they were in fact waves of raids.”
26. The Israelis had planned to liquidate prominent PLO leaders with the objective of cutting off the “head” of the Organization and subsequently taking care of the body. They, however, succeeded in killing only women and children. The total number of casualties was 800 with more than 300 dead. In Rashidiye camp in Southern Lebanon, 392 houses were destroyed or damaged.
27. Chairman Arafat said they had information that Israel would launch renewed attacks in the near future. They would try to liquidate the PLO’s political and military leadership before the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Segin to the United States, as they had tried to do before President Sadat’s visit to Washington. Next time, the Israelis will attack not only the PLO, but also the Syrians. The probability of the Israeli attack has increased after the American Shooting down of two Libyan planes. The PLO is getting ready to face another military threat. Two Israeli divisions were getting ready to attack the Palestinians. Certain manoeuvres were already taking place and some had been competed. The Israeli Defence Minister visited the border areas three times during the previous week. The Israeli Prime Minister had declared that the present cease-fire was a temporary one. Similar statements have been made by other senior Israeli and civilian officials. The Israelis were getting encouragement from statements made by some senior American officials. The were also encouraged by the fact that they do not have to guard against eh Egyptian front and are free to move against the PLO.
28. The 15-day, war has demonstrated the strength and determination of the Palestinian people. For the first time, the Israelis have been defeated at the hands of the Palestinians. Their military aggression was repelled and their attempts to infiltrated into the Palestinian areas were completely foiled. The Israelis made five such attempts, three from the sea, one form the air by try ping to land para-troopers and one by bringing in armour from the east side. All these attempts were unsuccessful as the PLO defeated them in each case. The PLO retaliated by extensive shelling of Israeli positions which forced a large number of people to seek shelter in safer places for several days.
29. Chairman Arafat said that he expected tension in the area to continue because of the Israeli policies. The entire area is surrounded by American fleets. They also have bases in some countries in the region. Israel continues to be the main tool of the American “strategic consensus” and is described as a strategic asset. Outright and continuing American support to Israel is evident from the decision of the U.S. Administration to resume the suspended supply of F-16 planes to Israel. Israel already has more than fifty of them and is in no urgent need of another six. The Americans could have easily withheld the supplies, but their decision to lift the embargo demonstrates what their real intentions are.
30. These decisions of the U.S. Administration, Chairman Arafat pointed out, were a part of the global American policy to impose their domination over others. He had no doubt that the escalation would continue. The PLO would not be deterred by Israeli and American threats. “The recent confrontation shows that we are not the weakest link. We have the determination and we are ready to die”. He expressed his gratitude to the countries which had given strength to the PLO by sending various kinds of assistance. He was glad that the Non-Aligned mission had come to visit them as that would also give strength to the PLO and make them feel that they were not alone.
31. The Israeli attacks on the civilian population were also intended to create a cleavage between the Lebanese and the Palestinian people. They, however, did not succeed as the unity between the Lebanese and the Palestinian people has become even stronger after the Israeli attacks. The Lebanese and the Palestinian people worked together to restore quickly bridges and other means of communication which were disrupted by the Israeli bombing and shelling. Thus the objective of the Israelis to cut off the Palestinians in Southern Lebanon from the leadership in the north was thwarted.
32. Chairman Arafat emphasized that the 15-day war was between Israel on the one hand and the PLO on the other. The United States and Israel were forced to deal with PLO during this confrontation. This, however, does not mean that there is any change in the policy of the U.S. Administration. Their dealings with the PLO were necessitated by the strength demonstrated by PLO and not because of any different perceptions.
He refused to pin any hopes on American actions. He said he does not believe in building any “sand castles”.
33. Chairman Arafat said that the PLO was in need of all kinds of help from its friends. This can be in the form of political, military or financial support. They were facing genocide and annihilation. During the 15-day war, the PLO and Lebanon suffered a loss of 500 million dollars. The PLO is paying compensation to people who have lost their houses whether they were Lebanese or Palestinians. A number of bridges had to be restored. The PLO has also taken up the responsibility for the families of those who died as martyrs. Farmers in the areas affected by Israeli attacks were unable to sell their product because of lack of logistics. The PLO has sent teams to but their produce and help them in logistic support. During this fighting, a lot of equipment and ammunition was used up and PLO surely needs more to defend itself against Israeli attacks.
34. Chairman Arafat said that he attached great importance to the political stand of the non-aligned movement on Israeli aggression. This would be a signal to the aggressors that the Palestinians were not alone. He expressed the hope that after the visit of this mission, the Bureau would make an appropriate statement and also take action to see that all countries become aware of the real nature of Israeli aggression.
Visit to Samed Workshops
35. The delegation visited the Palestine Martyrs works Society - Samed – which is an important institution of the Palestinian Revolution. The representative of the PLO, Public Relations Officer of Samed, Mrs. Aida explained that the Samed develops its role through economic, social and practical humanitarian projects in various fields. Samed began in 1970.
36. The Samed has three principal production sections and one central commercial section:-
(i) The Industrial section, which manufactures furniture, clothing, shoes, military boots, food products, fabrics and blankets, handicrafts reflecting Palestinian folklore and embroidery products, national Palestinian costumers etc.
(ii) Agricultural Section produces vegetables, fruits, also breeds cattle and poultry. There are six model agricultural projects located in Sudan, Somali, Uganda, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and in Congo Brazzaville. It is expected that new projects will be opened soon in Madagascar, Mozambique and Angola. These projects represent part of the practical contribution of the PLO to the development of food production in a number of Non-Aligned Countries.
(iii) The Cinematography and Information Section, which is responsible for the production of documentary and other films. It has a modern studio for film developing and printing of information material.
(iv) The General Commercial Section, which is responsible for commercial transactions, import and export of materials and goods, as well as for the supervision of temporary or permanent exhibitions of Palestinian goods in 39 selling centres in a number of the Non-aligned Countries.
37. The primary objective of Samed are to provide skills and work Revolution. However, the development of Samed has been so successful that its training and work programmes have been extended to include many Palestinians who are not children of martyrs and in some cases even Lebanese nationals. At this stage, there are over 5,500 workers employed in the above-mentioned industrial, agricultural, commercial and cinematography workshops, farms and factories. There are more than 40 work units in Lebanon. In addition to these, there are 5,000 women employed on a part time basis, producing embroidery and similar handicrafts at their home, in the Palestinian camps all over the Arab world.
38. Some of the industries set up by the Samed have attained high quality of products, for instance furniture, which is also exported to other countries.
39. Samed publishes a magazine “Samed Economy” which is an important economic paper of the PLO.
40. All workshops, farms and factories are managed by their revolutionary committees, elected annually by all the workers. These committees are responsible for the political and cultural education of workers. They are entrusted with the decisions on the level of salaries, selection of workers for specialization abroad etc.
41. A supervisory council of Samed elected by all employees, meets annually with the purpose of adopting reports of the executive boards.
42. Samed is an important institution that represents a nucleus of organization, planning, management and education of cadres for the future national economy of the independent Palestinian state. Moreover, Samed workshops are helping the PLO policy of emigration of Palestinian workers to other countries, by providing them job opportunities.
Meeting with Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi
43. Meeting the mission, the Head of the Political Department of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, said that in order to improve the current situation in Lebanon, a national détente between various political groups was needed. It is only with the cooperation of all sides that the Committee of four Arab countries will be able to assist in improving the situation in Lebanon.
44. He said that the Syrian forces had come into Lebanon at the request of Lebanese Government and it was not possible for the PLO to support the idea of their withdrawal at this stage.
45. Mr. Kaddoumi explained that the Israeli aggression, with the support of the United States, had led to the further deterioration of the situation in Lebanon. He also explained that the UNIFIL was not able to fulfil its mandate because a part of the Lebanese territory was controlled by eh forces of Major Haddad, who is supported by Israel.
46. Now Israel is aiming at occupying the southern region of Lebanon south of the Litani river in order to achieve a strategic advantage towards Syria.
Therefore, the possibility of Israel using her ground forces on a large scale, in a future aggression could not be excluded.
47. Israel wants to extend her frontiers to the tip of the so-called “finger of Israel”. She keeps extending the territory under her occupation. Mr. Kaddoumi recalled that some western Governments have been insisting that the PLO should recognize Israel’s existence and its frontiers as in June 1967 in spite of the fact that Israel is not prepared to recognize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people. He said that PLO cannot recognize frontiers of Israel since she has never even specified, or spelled out what her frontiers are.
48. Mr. Kaddoumi explained that the PLO has given a real lesson to Israel in the course of the 15-day war, that the Palestinians have become stronger, more self-confident and that they are fully capable of repelling any Israeli aggression.
49. Commenting upon the proposals of Saudi Arabia for the solution of the Middle East Crisis, Mr. Kaddoumi said that the proposal was similar to the one submitted to the Security Council of the United Nations in January 1976, “which was vetoed by the United States delegation. He noted that the Saudi plan contains some elements of the Resolution 242 of the Security council such as “secure boundaries”, although Saudi Arabia has never accepted this resolution. He believed that the Saudi proposal had very little chance of making any headway since Israel has rejected it and the United Sates has commented upon it in a rather ambiguous fashion.
50. Mr. Kaddoumi expressed his conviction that the Non-aligned Countries would continue to extend their full support to the just cause of the Palestinian people.
Visit to Southern Lebanon
51. The mission spent one full day the 22nd August visiting the area described as the “Triangle of Hell” by Chairman Arafat. This comprises the region formed into triangle by the towns of Saida, Tyre and Nabatya.
52. On the way to Saida, the mission stopped at Zahrani Refinery and observed the remains of the strategic bridge connecting southern and northern parts of Lebanon which was destroyed by the Israeli raids. In addition to the destruction of the bridge and a number of civilian houses, sixty persons were killed. The mission was informed that Israeli sub-marines surfaced near the coast shooting every vehicle and killing the passengers. The delegation saw a pile of wrecked cars that were destroyed at this crossing. The Refinery also was damaged, creating shortage of fuel and stopping the work of the power station in that area. The oil pipeline had also been destroyed. The primary object of this barbarous action of the Israelis was to sever all contacts between the southern and the northern part of Lebanon during the war.
53. At Nabatiya, the mission met the Regional Commander Marwan Esmat, Major of the Palestinian Army, who explained that the Israelis fired 5,000 artillery shells and there were fourteen air raids during a period of twelve days that caused heavy damage in the area which is only nine kilometres north of Israeli positions. Describing the prevailing situation, the Commander said that it was quiet but that it could erupt any moment because the Israelis could not swallow the defeat inflicted upon them by the Palestinians and nor could their allies. He explained that the Israeli objective during the 15-day war was to destroy the Palestinian Movement. Describing their strength, he said that this was demonstrated by the fact that the enemy could not achieve its aims. The victory of the Palestinians had further increased the international pressure on the enemy and in this context he appreciated the visit of the mission of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the legitimate cause they were fighting for.
54. He said that their organization was very flexible and can easily adapt to different tactics of the enemy. In describing the further intentions of the enemy, he said that the inclusion of General Sharon in the Israeli Government was an indication of Israel’s preparation for a new war.
55. The main aim of the enemy was to split the Palestinians and the Lebanese and that is why they mostly attacked the civilian settlements and villages. This time they did not use the infantry, which was because of the result of their defeat in 1978 when all their offensives were defeated. Therefore they opted for heavy shelling, bombardment and attacks from the submarines and the ships, using all weapons at their disposal. At the end of the visit to the headquarters, Commander Marwan stated that they were now in a position to defeat any tactics or any strength of the enemy.
56. The mission also saw the remains of a building which once housed an orphanage and was destroyed by an Israeli raid some years ago.
57. The mission visited an evacuated Palestinian refugee camp that was destroyed six years ago as a consequence of continuous Israeli shelling and raids.
58. The mission then visited the headquarters in Tyre and met with Deputy commander, Capt. Zakhi. The mission learnt from Capt. Zakhi that the forces of his region were scattered around in small military camps and invited the mission to have lunch in one of these camps.
59. Explaining the daily life of the units, he said that the young men joining the units undergo regular training in military skills, participate in courses of political education, read regular bulletins of news for the forces as well as the weekly paper of the PLO. Capt. Zakhi said that PLO forces were composed of the members of different religions and denominations and said that PLO was not fighting the Jews but the Zionist regime and American imperialism that support it. He said that he believed in Mohammad, Moses and Christ and that the Palestinian were not terrorists. On the other hand, he said the Zionists were terrorists as they killed too many innocent civilians.
60. On the way to the military camp, the delegation stopped at the Port of Tyr and observed the destruction caused by Israeli raids in 1978 which made the Port practically unusable.
61. The mission shared the lunch prepared by the young soldiers in the camp and familiarized itself with their hard peripatetic life. The mission was informed that the PLO maintains very good relations with the United Nations peace-keeping forces (UNIFIL) in the area.
62. Finally, the mission visited the Palestinian refugee camp in Rachidiya. It was welcomed by Abu Khaldoun, commander of the Police Forces in the camp. After having welcomed the delegation and explained the damage inflicted by the Zionist attacks, Commander Khaldoun showed the sites of destruction and said that there were 9500 inhabitants now in the camp as against the earlier figure of 17,000 a few years ago. He explained that during the 15-day war, nearly 400 houses were damaged/destroyed, six people killed and thirty wounded. He said that since 1973, the camp was shelled/bombed 702 times and received 15,000 bombs/shells of different sizes. During the recent war also one, the camp was hit by 10,000 shells from air, sea and artillery. The “secret” of the low casualties lies in the fact that they have constructed air raid shelters for the people.
63. Explaining the regular life of the people in the camp, he said that most of them were employed in agriculture, as mechanics in the garages and teachers in the schools. He said that the have six schools and six kindergartens as well as three clinics out of which two are for the Palestinians and one for other people, including the Lebanese.
65. The mission learnt that the estimated cost of the damage of the recent Israeli attacks was estimated at US $ 500 m. The mission whilst recognizing that there can be no compensation for the loss of life and suffering caused by the attacks, recommends that the Coordinating Bureau calls upon the international community including States, U.N. specialized agencies and other international organizations to render urgent assistance or increase the school and level of their assistance to the Palestinians and the people of Lebanon who suffered from the Israeli attacks.
66. The mission observed and was impressed by the highly developed organizational infrastructure of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the great responsibilities it has assumed for the welfare of the Palestinian people. The mission’s observations encourage its belief that the PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinian people and is the primary organization in meeting their needs and aspirations. The mission was convinced that the PLO has acquired the experience and capability to lead the Palestinian people and set up an efficient state machinery when they return to their homeland.
67. The mission observed and was impressed by the ability of the PLO and the Palestinian people to make best use of the assistance received by them and felt convinced that external financial and technical assistance would contribute to the success of their efforts to ameliorate the living conditions of the Palestinian people. The mission, therefore, recommends that States and international organizations sympathetically examine the needs of the Palestinian people and make appropriate contributions as a matter of urgency.
68. On the basis of discussions which the mission had at various levels with the PLO, it was clearly evident that the unresolved Palestinian problem represents the core of the Middle East crisis and that it is necessary to invest all efforts to bring abut a speedy solution of this problem through the realization of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, establishment of an independent state of their own and return to their homes. The mission believes that without such solution of the Palestinian problem there will not be peace and security in the region and in the world.
41 countries attended the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Melbourne from 30 September to 7 October 1981. In its final communiqué the following view was expressed in connexion with the Middle East:
The United Nations Conference on New and Renewal Sources of Energy The United Nations Conference on New and Renewal Sources of Energy,
Reiterating the necessity of abiding by the United Nations Charter and International Law, which confirm the illegality of any action taken by the occupying authorities to change the nature of the occupied territories.
Recognizing that the Israeli project linking the Mediterranean with the Dead Sea through a water canal constitutes a violation of the United Nations Charter and International Law.
1. Denounces Israel for its Mediterranean-Dead Sea Canal project as it is an aggression against the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and their occupied land;
2. Calls upon Israel to stop implementing the mentioned project.
Twenty members of the Arab League addressed the following letter to the Secretary-General:
Upon instructions from our respective Governments, we have the honour to bring to Your Excellency’s attention the utmost gravity and concern with which our Governments view Israel’s unilateral, illegal and most deleterious project.
Israel has already embarked on this project, in total disregard of the vital interests and rights of entire region, in particular those interests of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
The Council of the League of Arab States, while deploring this aggressive move, which is in flagrant violation of international law and practice pertaining to the jurisdiction of States and peoples in the seas, lakes, rivers and gulfs and in violation of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, adopted unanimously, at its included, among seventy-fifth session, upon the behest of Jordan, resolution No. 4014, which included, among other paragraphs, the following:
“1. The Council, while bringing to the attention of world public opinion the gravity of Israel’s decision to build a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, its attempt to construe it as a purely economic proposition, affirms that this decision and its proposed project is intended to bring about fundamental and irreversible geographical, demographical, ecological, environmental and economic transformations, creating great damage to the vital interest and rights of the whole region, and in particular, those of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people;
2. The council of the League of Arab States, therefore, cannot but inescapably come to the conclusion that the Israeli project, for which funds have already been raised and continue to be raised, has among its top priorities a military priority and a design to further its colonization plans and continue its policy of Ionization of the Holy Land and the annexation of the occupied Arab territories, thus leading to a situation of fait accompli.
3. The Council of the League of Arab States likewise calls upon all States and people to refrain providing any assistance or support, financial or technical for this project’s implementation; and declares that failure to heed this call would be regarded as a hostile act against the rights of the entire Arab nation and Arab States and, therefore, would be countered by all effective measures to safeguard those rights.”
Our Governments also wish to refer to resolution 3 adopted by the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy held at Nairobi from 10 to 21 August 1981, which reads as follows:
“The United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy,
“Reiterating the necessity of abiding by the United Nations Charter and international law, which confirm the illegality of any action taken by the occupying authorities to change the nature of the occupied territories,
“Recognizing that the Israeli project linking the Mediterranean with the Dead Sea through a water canal constitutes a violation of the United Nations Charter and international law,
“1. Denounces Israel for its Mediterranean-Dead Sea canal project as it is an aggression against the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and their occupied land;
“2. Calls upon Israel to stop implementing the mentioned project.”
Furthermore, our respective Governments regard the Israeli decision to proceed forthwith with the implementation of this project, which would start in the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip and traverse the breadth of the occupied territories, and would take a period of 8 to 10 years to be impended – as a definitive additional evidence that Israel has no intention of withdrawing from the occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, and views that decision with utmost concern and gravity.
In the light of the above, the Member States signatory to this letter proposed the inclusion in the agenda of the thirty sixth session of the General Assembly of an extremely grave and urgent item entitled “Israel’s decision to build a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea”.
At its 42nd plenary meeting the General Assembly on 28 October 1981 adopted the following resolution in connexion with the excavations in Jerusalem beneath and around the Moslem Holy Sanctuary of Al-Haram Al-Sharif:*
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming that the Geneva Convention relative to the Projection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,
Recalling its resolutions 2253 (ES-V), 2254 (ES-V) of 4 and 14 July 1967, 3092 (XXVII) of 1 December 1973, 3240 B (XXIX) of 29 November 1974, 3525 B (XXX) of 15 December 1975, 31/106 B of 16 December 1976, 32/11 A of 13 December 1977, 33/113 A of 18 December 1978 and 34/90 B of 12 December 1979 and 35/122 of 11 December 1980,
Recalling Security Council resolutions 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 271 (1969), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980),
Bearing in mind the need to protect and preserve the unique spiritual and religious character and dimensions of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
Expressing its very grave concern that Israel, as the occupying Power, persists in excavating and transforming the historical, cultural and religious sites of Jerusalem,
Noting with alarm that the excavations and transformations in progress seriously endanger the historical, cultural and religious sites of Jerusalem as well as its over-all configuration and that these sites have never been as endangered as they are today,
Noting with satisfaction and approval the World Heritage Committee’s (UNESCO) decision to include the Old city of Jerusalem and its walls on the World Heritage list,
Noting also with appreciation the recommendation of the Executive Board of UNESCO during its one hundred and thirteenth session that the World Heritage Committee speed up the procedure for including the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls on the list of the World Heritage in danger,
1. Determines that the excavations and transformations of the landscape and the historical, cultural and religious sites of Jerusalem constitute a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949;
2. Decides that such violations by Israel, constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East as well as threat to international peace and security;
3. Demands that Israel desist forthwith from all excavations and transformations of the historical, cultural and religious sites of Jerusalem, and particularly beneath and around the Moslem Holy Sanctuary of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, (Al Masjid Al Aqsa and the scared Dome of the Rock), the structures of which are in danger of collapse;
4. Requests the Security Council to consider this situation in case Israel fails to comply immediately with this resolution;
5. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to report to the General Assembly and the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution no later than 23 November 1981.