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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
16 March 1989

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 10 March 1989, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Statement by the Chairman

Draft programme of work for 1989

Report on the Preparatory Meeting for the North American NGO Symposium, held at New York from 13 to 14 February 1989

Other matters

This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. The CHAIRMAN, drawing the Committee's attention to Israel's increasingly harsh repression of the intifadah in the occupied Palestinian territory, said that since the beginning of the year three letters had been written to the Secretary-General by the Chairman or Acting Chairman reporting on the worsening situation and calling for measures to be taken to ensure the protection of the Palestinians and to hasten the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The most recent letter, dated 3 March 1989, had been circulated as document A/43/999-S/20505. The recent escalation of the repression had brought the total number of Palestinians killed to 502, and had included the full curfews imposed by the occupiers, for example, in Nablus, had lasted as long as 10 consecutive days. Throughout the occupied territory the number of administrative detentions had increased and the conditions of detention at some of the camps had provoked repeated protests to no avail. The occupying Power had consistently rejected all appeals to abide by its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

3. On the other hand, encouraging progress was being made towards a negotiated solution of the question of Palestine, judging from the initiatives taken by various Governments in recent weeks, and joint efforts must be made to bring about the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 43/176.

DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR 1989 (A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1/Rev.1)

4. Mr. RATH (India), speaking as Vice-Chairman of the Working Group, introduced the draft programme of work of the Committee for 1989 (A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1/Rev.1). He noted that the highest priority in 1989 was given to the convening of the International Peace Conference and to the need to ensure the protection of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Sub-section A contained information on the regional seminars that would be held in 1989 in Asia, Latin America and North America. Consultations with a prospective host Government for the Asian seminar were still under way. Sub-section B dealt with NGO preparatory meetings, regional symposia and the International NGO Meeting. Sub-section C, for which he proposed a minor drafting change, listed the studies and publications to be prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights in 1989.

5. The CHAIRMAN expressed the Committee's appreciation to Argentina, which had offered to host the Latin American seminar from 31 July to 4 August 1989.

6. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that his delegation supported all efforts to ensure the security and protection of the peaceful Palestinian population and to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with General Assembly resolution 43/176. The pre-conditions for a settlement of the central issue, namely the Palestine problem, were now present, thanks in part to the peaceful Palestinian uprising and the constructive leadership demonstrated by the PLO in recognizing Security Council resolution 242 (1967), agree to a dialogue with Israel and condemning terrorism, thereby removing any pretext for denying it the right to participate in an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Such a conference had the support not only of the Arab parties involved in the conflict but also Western Europe and the permanent members of the Security Council. The primary tasks in preparing the Conference included consideration of the problem in a special session of the Security Council at the level of ministers for foreign affairs; consultations among the five permanent members of the Council who, working in collaboration with the Secretary-General and the direct participants in the conflict, would serve as the preparatory body; provision by the United Nations of other mutually acceptable and flexible forms of constructive co-operation among the parties involved; and designation by the Secretary-General of a competent
individual acceptable to all parties as his special representative for the Middle East.

7. The preparatory work could be conducted through informal discussions and
consultations in the Security Council, and multilateral and bilateral talks among the parties concerned, either directly or through intermediaries, aimed at working out a specific and generally acceptable understanding of the basic parameters of the conference. That work should be completed within six to nine months. Even at the present stage, questions of principle must be decided, including the political and juridical basis of the conference and the participation of the Palestinians.

8. The existing situation was intolerable not only for the Palestinians and the Arabs but for Israel itself, and there was no alternative to conciliation and settlement. Israel's oppression of the Palestinians inevitably led to Israel's isolation and loss of support even from its friends and raised the possibility of imposing sanctions against that country for violating the rights of a civilian population. The increasing militarization of the Middle East and the continuing explosive situation in the region were creating a threat to world peace and security. That was why the idea of an international conference on the Middle East was becoming increasingly popular and must be carried out through the joint efforts of the entire international community, with the Committee making its own important contribution.

9. Mr. TERZI (Observer for Palestine) thanked the Committee for the messages sent to alert the Secretary-General to the latest developments and observed that unfortunately all action had been blocked by the opposition of one permanent member of the Security Council, thus boding ill for the future. Also disheartening was the failure so far of the new United States Administration to take an official position on the Palestinian question, particularly in view of the meetings scheduled to be held soon in Washington with Israeli officials unalterably opposed to any peace process. The media, moreover, were sowing confusion through their mixed messages regarding the intifadah. All Palestinian resistance was heroic and legitimate, and it was the occupying Power which was engendering such resistance by its terrorist tactics.

10. On the other hand, hope had recently been revived by the Soviet Foreign
Minister's visit to the region and his meeting with Mr. Arafat, and by the meetings of the United States Secretary of State in Moscow and in Europe. The United States Secretary of State would soon be meeting with the Secretary-General, and it would be important for the Chairman to secure an appointment with the Secretary-General immediately afterwards to find out where the United States now stood in respect of the peace process in the Middle East in order to help the Committee to decide on further political action.

11. The CHAIRMAN said that she would take it, if she heard no objection, that the Committee authorized her to seek an appointment, as suggested, with the Secretary-General. She would also take it that the Committee wished to adopt the draft programme of work for 1989, as contained in document A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1/Rev.1, as orally revised.

12. It was so decided.

13. Mr. ZACHMANN (German Democratic Republic) said that his delegation firmly
supported the programme of work, which rightly focused on the convening, as early as possible, of an international peace conference on the Middle East for which the Committee bore special responsibility.

14. The cases of Iran, Iraq and Namibia had proven that, when the parties to
regional conflicts showed a sense of realism and good will, the United Nations
could resolve even protracted and complex differences. The Middle East conflict and the question of Palestine could also be resolved, especially since the overwhelming majority of Member States were in favour of preparing and convening a Middle East conference. In that context, consultations should begin as soon as possible among the five permanent members of the Security Council. He supported proposals submitted by the Soviet Union that the Secretary-General should designate a special representative on the Middle East, and that the Security Council should formulate recommendations for a Middle East peace conference. The Secretary-General should personally continue to work for the convening of the conference.

15. The Committee could and should effectively support the initiation and
implementation of a process of peaceful settlement in the Middle East. Regional seminars and symposiums, NGO meetings and the participation of journalists could help to promote that process. His delegation would actively support such proven measures.

16. In view of the existing situation in the Middle East, the Committee should explore all possibilities for the implementation of its programme of work and develop even more effective working methods. His delegation had noted with interest the views expressed by Committee members calling for the improvement of the Committee's work, inter alia, by ensuring a viable and fully staffed Division for Palestinian rights. His delegation was ready to provide assistance in achieving that goal.


17. Mr. ORAMAS-OLIVA (Cuba), reporting on the Preparatory Planning Meeting for the 1989 North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, held at Headquarters from 13 to 14 February 1989, said that, in addition to himself, the Committee delegation had included the representatives of Afghanistan, Malta, Senegal and Palestine. The meeting had been attended by the 11 members of the North American Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (NACC), who had been elected by the 1988 North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine. At the request of NACC, invitations had also been extended to the representatives of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNRWA and WHO to brief the non-governmental organizations on the activities of their respective organizations with regard to the Palestinian people, particularly those in the occupied Palestinian territory.

18. In his statement, he had stressed the esteem in which the Committee held the North American Co-ordinating Committee and the North American NGO community and the importance which it attached to their efforts on behalf of the Palestinian cause, especially as public opinion was a key factor in the formulation of policy. He had emphasized the importance of the intifadah and had drawn attention to the Palestinian peace initiative launched at the Geneva session of the General Assembly. The Committee would spare no effort to achieve its priority objective, i.e., the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East.

19. The draft programme proposed by NACC for the NGO symposium was the result of consultations between the Committee delegation and NACC members. It had been proposed that two panels should be set up to stress the new political context created by the intifadah and to address the implications of the proclamation of the State of Palestine and of the Palestinian peace initiative, the implications of the intifadah for Israel and the United States and the urgency of convening an international peace conference. Workshops would focus on the need to mobilize public awareness and concrete support in North America and on the development of strategies for action among various North American target groups. He was pleased to report that the United Nations agencies had expressed their readiness to provide assistance in that regard. In view of the numerous administrative arrangements that the Secretariat would have to make, he proposed that the Committee should adopt the Working Paper on the item in order to enable the Secretariat to begin the
preparations for the symposium.

20. Mr. TERZI (Observer for Palestine) proposed that the section on Israeli violations of human rights contained in a recent United States report on human rights violations should be published as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

21. The CHAIRMAN requested the secretariat to make the necessary arrangements to that end.

22. If she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the Working Paper on the item.

23. It was so decided.


24. The CHAIRMAN said that if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the Working Paper containing applications of NGOs for approval by the Committee.

25. It was so decided.

26. The CHAIRMAN said that if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the document containing the provisional programme of work for the preparatory planning meeting for the sixth United Nations NGO meeting on the question of Palestine.

27. It was so decided.

28. The CHAIRMAN said that the representative of Malaysia would be attending the eighteenth Islamic Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs to be held in Riyadh from 13 to 16 March 1989. Moreover, the representative of Cuba and the Observer for Palestine would be attending a conference on peace in the Middle East and the question of Palestine to be held in Athens from 31 March to 2 April 1989.

29. Mr. MIRZA (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights), replying to a question from Mr. Terzi (Observer for Palestine) regarding the vacant seminar co-ordination post in the Division, said that a Professional was temporarily filling that post. The post had been advertised for internal recruitment and applications would be processed after the 13 March deadline in accordance with the established procedures.

The meeting rose at 4.20 p.m.

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