Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 1991
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
January 1988 - March 1991
Issue 1 (Revised)
New York, April 1991
USSR proposals of 19 January 1988
Peace initiative of President Hosni Mubarak, 27 January 1988
"A Statement for Palestinians" by Mr. George Shultz, Jerusalem, 26 February 1988
PLO statement "Prospects of a Palestinian-Israeli Settlement", Algiers, 7 June 1988
Address to the nation by King Hussein of Jordan, Amman, 31 July 1988
PLO Chairman's statement before the Socialist Group of the European Parliament,
Strasbourg, France, 13 September 1988
Statement by President François Mitterrand before the General Assembly,
New York, 29 September 1988
Decisions of the nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council,
Algiers, 12-15 November 1988
PLO Chairman's statement before the General Assembly, Geneva, 13 December 1988
PLO Chairman's news conference, Geneva, 14 December 1988
Opening of PLO-United States dialogue, 14 December 1988
Statement by Mr. Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Cairo, 23 February 1989
Four points of the Government of Israel, 14 May 1989
Remarks by Mr. James Baker before the 30th Annual AIPAC Policy Conference,
Washington, D.C., 22 May 1989
Statement by the PLO Chairman before MENA and Egyptian newspaper editors,
Addis Ababa, 25 July 1989
Initiative of the Government of Egypt, August 1989
Five-point proposal of Mr. James Baker, October 1989
Israel's response to Mr. Baker's proposal, 6 November 1989
Soviet-French statement on the Middle East, Moscow, 14 November 1989
Soviet-Egyptian statement on the Middle East, Moscow, May 1990
Statement by President George H. Bush announcing the decision to suspend
the PLO-United States dialogue, Huntsville, Alabama, 20 June 1990
United States-Soviet joint statement on the Persian Gulf, Helsinki, 9 September 1990
Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, 16 September 1990
Statement by President François Mitterrand before the General Assembly,
New York, 24 September 1990
Statement by Mr. Douglas Hurd before the General Assembly, New York, 26 September 1990
Joint statement by the five permanent members of the Security Council,
New York, 28 September 1990
Statement by President George H. Bush before the General Assembly, New York, 1 October 1990
Statement by Mr. Douglas Hurd before the Diplomatic and Commonwealth Writers' Association,
London, 4 October 1990
Report of the Secretary-General on the question of Palestine
and the situation in the Middle East, 12 November 1990
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East, 26 November 1990
Statement by the President of the Security Council, 20 December 1990
Statement by the Secretary-General regarding the situation
in the Middle East, United Nations Headquarters, 15 January 1991
Soviet-United States joint statement on the Persian Gulf, Washington, D.C., 29 January 1991
Remarks by Mr. Alois Mock on steps to achieve peace in the Middle East,
Vienna, 18 February 1991
Address to the nation by President François Mitterrand, Paris, 3 March 1991
Statement by President George H. Bush in the United States Congress,
Washington, D.C., 6 March 1991
Memorandum delivered by a delegation of Palestinians from the
occupied territory to Mr. James Baker, Jerusalem, 12 March 1991
Designation by the Secretary-General of his Special
Representative to the Middle East, New York, 21 March 1991
In April 1991, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People requested that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat prepare urgently and update regularly, for the use of the Committee members and observers, a compilation of the relevant recent statements, declarations and proposals regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The present summary has been prepared in response to the decision of the Committee, and it contains information not included in an earlier study entitled "The need for convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East (in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C)", which covers the period from 1947 through December 1987 and was issued by the Division for Palestinian Rights in 1989.*
This publication represents an effort, on the basis of the available printed information, to trace the major international endeavours aimed at achieving peace in the Middle East. It covers the period from January 1988 through March 1991. Note should be made that reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, proposals and initiatives, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.
*Publications of the Division for Palestinian Rights may be obtained at:
United Nations Secretariat
Division for Palestinian Rights
New York, N.Y. 10017
USSR proposals of 19 January 1988
On 20 January 1988, the United Nations Secretary-General received a message from Mr. Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR.
In the letter, he pointed to the urgent need to transform the political will of States reflected in the decisions of the General Assembly into concrete practical steps to solve the hard-core problems of the Middle East and suggested that a special role in this process be played by the United Nations, and in particular by the Security Council. Mr. Shevardnadze put forward the following proposal:
"We suggest that the members of the Security Council proceed to consultations to consider the relevant questions. The initiative in this matter, we believe, could belong to the permanent members of the Council. Conclusions and recommendations arrived at during such consultations could be considered at a formal meeting of the Council. In view of the particular importance of this question for the maintenance of international security, we propose that such a meeting should be held at the Foreign Minister level. We hope that you, for your part, will use the means at your disposal and your personal authority to contribute effectively to a general agreement on immediate practical steps for the convening of an International conference on the Middle conference on the Middle East."
Peace initiative of President Hosni Mubarak
27 January 1988
On 27 January 1988, the Government of Egypt communicated to the Secretary-General the text of an initiative of the President of Egypt, Mr. Hosni Mubarak.
President Mubarak in this letter stated that the tragic events in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip confirmed the urgency of resuming the peace process in the interest of all the parties concerned. In order to pave the way for meaningful negotiations, the Government of Egypt proposed the following:
"The parties concerned would halt all forms of violence and repression in the occupied territories for six months; such a step would be accompanied by the following:
1. Ceasing all settlement activities;
2. Respecting the political rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation;
3. Ensuring the safety and protection of this people through proper international mechanisms;
4. Movement towards the convening of the International Peace Conference with the aim of reaching a comprehensive peace settlement that provides for the recognition of the right of all States in the region to live in peace and for enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination."
"A Statement for Palestinians" by Mr. George Shultz
Jerusalem, 26 February 1988
In a statement made on 26 February 1988, at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. George Shultz, explained his Government's position regarding peacemaking in the Middle East.
He said in the statement, which became known as "The Shultz initiative", that the following fundamental considerations guided the United States approach:
"First, Palestinians and Israelis must deal differently with one another. Palestinians must achieve control over political and economic decisions that affect their lives. Palestinians must be active participants in negotiations to determine their future. Legitimate Palestinian rights can be achieved in a manner which protects Israeli security. Israeli security and Palestinian security are necessary conditions for a better future for Palestinians, as well as for Israelis.
"Second, these moves must be part of a broader effort to reach a comprehensive settlement. Israel and the occupied territories do not exist in isolation. Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinians living outside the territories have concerns which need to be resolved. In moving toward a comprehensive settlement, resolutions 242 and 338, in their entirety, must be the basis for negotiations.
"Third, what we are seeking must be achieved through negotiations. Negotiations work. Negotiations produce agreements which meet the fundamental concerns of all parties. Experience shows you that you can have an agreement with Israel, and it will be kept by Israel.
"Fourth, the start of negotiations must be soon, and the pace of negotiations must be rapid, so that results can be achieved with equal rapidity.
"Our vision is of Israelis and Palestinians living together in peace in this land; where the rights of each are respected; where the energies of all are directed at peaceful purposes; where security and trust exist. Israelis and Palestinians need to see in each other the embodiment of their own dreams. They will realize that the fulfillment of their own dreams is impossible without the fulfillment of the other side's dreams. They will see that dreams rooted in reality are dreams which can be fulfilled."
PLO statement "Prospects of a Palestinian-Israeli Settlement
Algiers, 7 June 1988
Mr. Bassam Abu Sharif, special advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman and spokesman for the organization, wrote a position paper,
which was distributed to international media on the eve of the Emergency Arab Summit Conference held at Algiers, 7-9 June 1988. Among other things, Mr. Abu Sharif said:
"The key to a Palestinian-Israeli settlement lies in talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Palestinians would be deluding themselves if they thought that their problems with the Israelis can be solved in negotiations with non-Israelis, including the United States. By the same token, the Israelis--and U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, who has been shuttling to the Middle East for discussions on his peace proposals--would be deluding themselves if they thought that Israel's problems with the Palestinians can be solved in negotiations with non-Palestinians, including Jordan.
"Every Palestinian questioned by diplomats and newsmen of the international community has stated unequivocally that his representative is the Palestine Liberation Organization. If that is regarded as an unreliable expression of the Palestinians' free will, then give the Palestinians the chance to express their free will in a manner that will convince all doubters: arrange for an internationally-supervised referendum in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and allow the population to choose between the PLO and any other group of Palestinians that Israel or the United States or the international community wishes to nominate. The PLO is ready to abide by the outcome and step aside for any Alternative leadership should the Palestinian people choose one.
"The PLO, however, does accept resolutions 242 and 338. What prevents it from saying so unconditionally is not what is in the resolutions but what is not in them: neither resolution says anything about the national rights of the Palestinian people, including their democratic right to self-expression and their national right to self-determination. For that reason, and that reason alone, we have repeatedly said that we accept resolutions 242 and 338 in the context of the other UN resolutions, which do recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people.
"As for the fear that a Palestinian State would be a threat to its neighbour, the democratic nature of the PLO--with its legislative, executive, and other popularly-based institutions--should argue against it. If that does not constitute a solid enough guarantee that the State of Palestine would be a democratic one, the Palestinians would be open to the idea of a brief, mutually-acceptable transitional period during which an international mandate would guide the occupied Palestinian territories to democratic Palestinian statehood.
"Beyond that, the Palestinians would accept--indeed, insist on--international guarantees for the security of all States in the region, including Palestine and Israel. It is precisely our desire for such guarantees that motivates our demand that bilateral peace talks with Israel be conducted in the context of a UN-sponsored international conference."
Address to the nation by King Hussein
Amman, 31 July 1988
Towards the end of July 1988 the Government of Jordan decided to sever its legal and administrative links with the West Bank occupied by Israel.* In an address to the nation,
/ King Hussein of Jordan declared:
"The relationship of the West Bank with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in light of the PLO's call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, can be confined to two considerations. First, the principled consideration pertaining to the issue of Arab unity as a pan-Arab aim, to which the hearts of the Arab peoples aspire and which they want to achieve. Second, the political consideration pertaining to the extent of the Palestinian struggle's gain from the continuation of the legal relationship of the Kingdom's two banks. Our answer to the question now stems from these two considerations and the background of the clear-cut and firm Jordanian position toward the Palestine question, as we have shown.
"Regarding the principled consideration, Arab unity between any two or more countries is an option of any Arab people. This is what we believe. Accordingly, we responded to the wish of the Palestinian people's representatives for unity with Jordan in 1950. From this premise, we respect the wish of the PLO, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, to secede from us as an independent Palestinian State. We say that while we fully understand the situation. Despite this, Jordan will continue to take pride in carrying the message of the Great Arab Revolt, adhering to its principles, believing in the one Arab destiny, and abiding by the joint Arab action.
"Regarding the political consideration, since the June 1967 aggression we have believed that our action and efforts should be directed at liberating the land and the sanctities from Israeli occupation. Therefore, we have concentrated all our efforts, over the past 21 years of occupation, on that goal. We did not imagine that maintaining the legal and administrative relationship between the two banks could constitute an obstacle to liberating the occupied Palestinian land. Hence, in the past and before we took measures, we did not find anything requiring such measures, especially since our support for the Palestinian people's right to self-determination was clear.
"Of late, it has become clear that there is a general Palestinian and Arab orientation which believes in the need to highlight the Palestinian identity in full in all efforts and activities that are related to the Palestine question and its developments. It has also become obvious that there is a general conviction that maintaining the legal and administrative relationship with the West Bank - and
the consequential special Jordanian treatment of the brother Palestinians living under occupation through Jordanian institutions in the occupied territories - goes against this orientation. It would be an obstacle to the Palestinian struggle which seeks to win international support for the Palestine question, considering that it is a just national issue of a people struggling against foreign occupation."
"In view of this orientation, which was bound to stem from a purely Palestinian desire and an unflinching Arab determination to support the Palestine question, we have a duty to favourably respond to its requirements. First and last, we are part of our nation and we are eager to support its causes, foremost among which is the Palestine question. Since there is unanimous conviction that the struggle for liberating the occupied Palestinian territory can be bolstered by disengaging the legal and administrative relationship between the two banks, then we must perform our duty and do what is required of us."
King Hussein made it clear, however, that Jordan would continue to support the Palestinian people's steadfastness and its uprising until the Palestinians achieve their national objectives. Later, the King dissolved the lower house of the Jordanian Parliament, which included representatives of West Bank Palestinians. These moves were welcomed by the PLO, which expressed its readiness to assume full responsibility for the administration of the occupied West Bank.
*Areas of Arab Palestine were formally united with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 24 April 1950 after a decision by the Jordanian Majlis al-Ummah (Parliament).
PLO Chairman's statement before the Socialist Group
of the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, 13 September 1988
On 13 September 1988, Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, addressed a meeting of the Socialist Group of the European Parliament at Strasbourg, France. In his statement he expressed his views of the
in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as of the conditions and plight of the Palestinian people under occupation. Mr. Arafat laid special emphasis on the Palestinian popular uprising in the occupied territory. Outlining the position taken by the PLO in the search for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, he stated that the PLO could agree to the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East only under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and the parties to the conflict in the region, including the PLO and Israel, on the basis of two options, namely, all the resolutions dealing with the question of Palestine, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), or Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) along with the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost of which is its right to self-determination. On the issue of terrorism, Mr. Arafat reiterated the PLO's commitment to the 1985 Cairo declaration and General Assembly resolution 42/159 of 7 December 1987.
/ He added that the PLO was working to establish an independent Palestinian State in the territory liberated from Israeli occupation, with a democratic, republican, multi-party system respecting human rights, where there would be no distinctions among its citizens because of colour, race or religion.
Statement by President François Mitterrand
before the General Assembly, New York, 29 September 1988
Addressing the 10th plenary meeting of the forty-third session of the General Assembly, on 29 September 1988, President François Mitterrand of France spoke of his country's position on the situation in the Middle East.
The President said,
"Let us go back to the basic principles of a lasting settlement, as defined by the United Nations. All members are familiar with them. For my part, I outlined them both in the Knesset in Jerusalem and in the Arab capitals. Israel has the right to exist within safe and recognized borders; the Palestinian people are entitled to aspire to a homeland and to take charge of their own destinies.
"In order to arrive at a peace settlement, which would enshrine these rights, there must be a dialogue between the parties. Each side, Israelis and Palestinians, must do its share. Each must be willing to accept for the other what it demands for itself, and each must be able to say this in no uncertain terms. I do understand how difficult it is to take the first step.
"In order to facilitate dialogue and break down the walls of distrust, the international community must clearly act as an intermediary. A procedure exists: the international conference. It is the only framework within which real partners can meet and establish bilateral contacts between them.
"The international conference has become a reference point. Let us make it a reality. I proposed some time ago that a preparatory committee earnestly go about laying the groundwork. Mr. Gorbachev was in agreement with me on this idea. Now the time has come to revive this. I suggest that a diplomatic arrangement be made among the five permanent members of the Security Council in conjunction with the Secretary-General. This preparatory work should result in recommendations on the organization and calendar of the future conference and recommendations about who its participants will be."
Decisions of the nineteenth extraordinary session of the
Palestine National Council, Algiers, 12-15 November 1988
The nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the supreme legislative Palestinian body, was held at Algiers from 12 to 15 November 1988. Two final documents were adopted: "The Political Communiqué" and "The Declaration of Independence".
A decision was also taken to set up a provisional Government.
In its "Political Communiqué", PNC, among other things, affirmed the determination of the PLO to reach
a comprehensive political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of its essence, the question of Palestine, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the principles and provisions of international legitimacy, the rules of international law, the resolutions of the United Nations - the most recent being Security Council resolutions 605 (1987), 607 (1988) and 608 (1988) - and the resolutions of the Arab summit conferences, in a manner that ensured the right of the Palestinian Arab people to return, to exercise self-determination and to establish its independent national State on its national soil, while also making arrangements for the security and peace of every State in the region.
In order to realize this task, PNC insisted on the implementation of the following:
"(a) The need to convene the effective international conference on the subject of the Middle East problem and its essence, the question of Palestine, under the auspices of the United Nations and with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and all parties to the conflict in the region, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, on an equal footing, with the provision that the said international conference shall be convened on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and shall guarantee the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost among which is the right to self-determination, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Charter of the United Nations concerning the right to self-determination of peoples, the inadmissibility of seizure of land belonging to others by means of force or military invasion, and in accordance with United Nations resolutions concerning the question of Palestine;
"(b) Israel's withdrawal from all the Palestinian and Arab territories which it has occupied since 1967, including Arab Jerusalem;
"(c) Cancellation of all measures of attachment and annexation and removal of the settlements established by Israel in the Palestinian and Arab territories since the year 1967;
"(d) An endeavour to place the occupied Palestinian territories, including Arab Jerusalem, under United Nations supervision for a limited period, in order to protect our people and to provide an atmosphere conducive to a successful outcome for the international conference, the attainment of a comprehensive political settlement and the establishment of security and peace for all through mutual acceptance and satisfaction, and in order to enable the Palestinian State to exercise its effective authority over those territories;
"(e) Solution of the Palestine refugee problem in accordance with United Nations resolutions on that subject;
"(f) Assurance of freedom of worship and the practice of religious rites at the Holy Places in Palestine for adherents of all religions;
"(g) The Security Council's establishment and assurance of arrangements for security and peace among all the concerned States in the region, including the Palestinian State."
The Declaration of Independence
Another document adopted at the session, "The Declaration of Independence", proclaimed the
establishment of a Palestinian State. The document referred to several international legal instruments in which provisions for the establishment of a Palestinian State had been made. It pointed out,
"Despite the historical injustice done to the Palestinian Arab people in its displacement and in being deprived of the right to self-determination following the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 1947, which partitioned Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State, that resolution nevertheless continues to attach conditions to international legitimacy that guarantee the Palestinian Arab people the right to sovereignty and national independence."
As regards the establishment of a Palestinian State, the Declaration stated:
"By virtue of the natural, historical and legal right of the Palestinian Arab people to its homeland, Palestine, and of the sacrifices of its succeeding generations in defence of the freedom and independence of that homeland,
"Pursuant to the resolutions of the Arab Summit Conference and on the basis of the international legitimacy embodied in the resolutions of the United Nations since 1947, and
"Through the exercise by the Palestinian Arab people of its right to self-determination, political independence and sovereignty over its territory,
"The Palestine National Council hereby declares, in the name of God and on behalf of the Palestinian Arab people, the establishment of the State of Palestine in the land of Palestine with its capital at Jerusalem."
The Declaration outlined the principal characteristics of the newly established State:
"The State of Palestine shall be for Palestinians, wherever they may be, therein to develop their national and cultural identity and therein to enjoy full equality of rights. Their religious and political beliefs and human dignity shall therein be safeguarded under a democratic parliamentary system based on freedom of opinion and the freedom to form parties, on the heed of the majority for minority rights and the respect of minorities for majority decisions, on social justice and equality, and on non-discrimination in civil rights on ground of race, religion or colour or as between men and women, under a Constitution ensuring the rule of law and an independent judiciary and on the basis of true fidelity to the age-old spiritual and cultural heritage of Palestine with respect to mutual tolerance, coexistence and magnanimity among religions.
"The State of Palestine shall be an Arab State and shall be an integral part of the Arab nation, of its heritage and civilization and of its present endeavour for the achievement of the goals of liberation, development, democracy and unity.
"The State of Palestine declares its commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the policy and principles of non-alignment.
"The State of Palestine, in declaring that it is a peace-loving State committed to the principles of peaceful coexistence, shall strive, together with all other States and peoples, for the achievement of a lasting peace based on justice and respect for rights, under which the human potential for constructive activity may flourish, mutual competition may centre on life-sustaining innovation and there is no fear for the future, since the future bears only assurance for those who have acted justly or made amends to justice."
It was declared that the State of Palestine believed in the solution of international and regional problems by peaceful means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the resolutions adopted by it, and that, without prejudice to its natural right to defend itself, it rejected the threat or use of force, violence and intimidation against its territorial integrity and political independence or those of any other State.
PLO Chairman's statement before the General Assembly
Geneva, 13 December 1988
The delegation of the PLO to the forty-third session of the General Assembly held at Geneva was headed by Mr. Yasser Arafat, who on 13 December 1988 made a statement before the General Assembly at its 78th plenary meeting. In his address,
/ Mr. Arafat gave a retrospective of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, in particular, of the question of Palestine. He spoke about numerous peace plans and initiatives aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict, which had been proposed over the past decades. He underscored the crucial role the
played in the struggle of the Palestinian people for its rights and independence. Prominent attention was given in the speech to the decisions of the nineteenth extraordinary session of PNC. Mr. Arafat specifically referred to the position taken by PNC on the issue of terrorism, stating that the session had reiterated its rejection of terrorism of all kinds, including State terrorism.
On the question of finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he emphasized that the acceleration of the tempo of the peace process in the region required an exceptional effort on the part of all the parties concerned and of the international parties, particularly the United States and the Soviet Union, which bore a special responsibility towards the cause of peace in the Middle East. He was of the opinion that the United Nations, "the permanent members of the Security Council and all international blocs and bodies [had] a vital role to play at this stage".
Mr. Arafat, in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, which at the time carried out the functions of the provisional Government of the State of Palestine, speaking before the General Assembly proposed the following:
"First, that a serious effort be made to convene, under the supervision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the preparatory committee of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East - in accordance with the initiative of President Gorbachev and President Mitterrand, which President Mitterrand presented to the Assembly towards the end of last September and which was supported by many States, in order to pave the way for the convening of the International Conference, which commands universal support, with the exception of the Government of Israel;
"Secondly, on the basis of our belief in international legitimacy and the vital role of the United Nations, that actions be undertaken to place our occupied Palestinian land under temporary United Nations supervision, and that international forces be deployed there to protect our people and at the same time to supervise the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from our country;
"Thirdly, that the PLO will work for the achievement of a comprehensive settlement among the parties in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the State of Palestine, Israel and the other neighbouring States, within the framework of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), so as to guarantee equality and the balance of interests, especially our people's rights to freedom and national independence, and for respect for the right of all the parties to the conflict to exist in peace and security."
PLO Chairman's news conference
Geneva, 14 December 1988
On 14 December 1988, at a news conference at Geneva, Mr. Yasser Arafat further elaborated on the key points he had made in his statement before the General Assembly.
At the opening of the news conference, Mr. Arafat made the following statement:
"In my speech ... yesterday, it was clear that we mean our people's rights to free and national independence, according to resolution 181, and the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security and, as I have mentioned, including the State of Palestine, Israel and other neighbours, according to resolutions 242 and 338.
"As for terrorism, I renounced it yesterday in no uncertain terms and yet I repeat for the record that we totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism, including individual, group and state terrorism."
Opening of PLO-United States dialogue
14 December 1988
The position adopted by the delegation of the PLO during the Geneva session of the General Assembly set off a series of important political developments. The foremost among them was the resumption, after a long period of time, of an official PLO-United States dialogue.* On 14 December 1988, following Mr. Arafat's news conference, the President of the United States Mr. Ronald Reagan, issued a statement on United States relations with the PLO in which,
, he said:
"The Palestine Liberation Organization today issued a statement in which it accepted United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel's right to exist, and renounced terrorism. These have long been our conditions for a substantive dialogue. They have been met. Therefore, I have authorized the State Department to enter into a substantive dialogue with PLO representatives.
"The initiation of a dialogue between the United States and PLO representatives is an important step in the peace process, the more so because it represents the serious evolution of Palestinian thinking toward realistic and pragmatic positions on the key issues."
*The first meeting between the two delegations took place on 16 December 1988 in the Tunisian town of Carthage. The PLO delegation was headed by Mr. Yasser Abed Rabbo and the United States by Mr. Robert H. Pelletreau, Ambassador to Tunisia.
Statement by Mr. Eduard A. Shevardnadze
Cairo, 23 February 1989
During his tour of the Middle East, Mr. Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR, on 23 February 1989, while in Cairo made a statement entitled "The Middle East: a chance of an historic compromise".
In the statement, Mr. Shevardnadze proposed the following steps to achieve a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict: (a) informal discussions in the Security Council, through informal consultations among its five permanent members and through a multilateral and bilateral dialogue of the parties concerned with reaching a settlement, carried on either directly or through intermediaries with a view to arriving at a definite understanding acceptable to all parties concerning the basic parameters of an international conference on the Middle East. Such work, he said, must have a time limit and be spread over a period of six to nine months; (b) some questions of principle must be settled, namely, the political and legal basis of the conference, and involve the participation of Palestinians in the conference; (c) the establishment, under the United Nations Secretary-General, of the post of special representative for the Middle East; (d) the formulation by the Security Council of balanced recommendations for organizing the conference; (e) agreement by the Government of Israel to enter into dialogue with the PLO; (f) the holding of meetings between high-level representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic, Egypt, Jordan, the PLO and Lebanon in order to hasten the convening of the conference.
Four points of the Government of Israel, 15 May 1989
On 14 May 1989, the Government of Israel adopted a Four-point initiative,
which contained the following principles for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict: (a) continuation of the political process based on the principles of the Camp David accords; (b) establishment of peace relations between Israel and those Arab States which still maintain a state of war with it, for the purpose of promoting a comprehensive settlement for the Arab-Israeli conflict, including recognition, direct negotiations, ending the boycott, diplomatic relations, cessation of hostile activity in international institutions and forums and regional and bilateral cooperation; (c) call for an international endeavour to solve the Arab refugee problem. It was stated in this connection that Israel was prepared to be a partner in this endeavour; (d) free and democratic elections among the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in an atmosphere devoid of violence, threats and terror. The initiative was based on two stages: Stage 'A' - a five-year transitional period for an interim agreement and Stage 'B' - a permanent solution.
Remarks by Mr. James Baker before the 30th Annual AIPAC
Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., 22 May 1989
On 22 May 1989, in his remarks at Washington, D.C. before the 30th Annual American-Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, the United States Secretary of State Mr. James Baker outlined the following four principles for advancing the peace process in the Middle East, as viewed by the United States: (a) the object of the peace process is a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), involving territory for peace, security and recognition for Israel and all the States of the region, and Palestinian political rights; (b) parties to negotiations must deal directly with each other. A properly structured international conference could be useful at an appropriate time, but only if it did not interfere with or in any way replace or be a substitute for direct talks; (c) requirement of a transitional period so as to reach a final settlement; (d) in advance of direct negotiations no party can or will dictate an outcome. Mr. Baker said that this was why the United States did not support annexation or permanent Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza, nor did it support the creation of an independent Palestinian State. He stated that the United States had a formula of self-government for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in a manner acceptable to Palestinians, Israel and Jordan.
The Secretary of State called upon Israel to lay aside the vision of 'greater Israel', foreswear annexation, stop settlement activity, allow schools to reopen and reach out to the Palestinians as neighbours who deserved political rights.
Statement by the PLO Chairman before MENA and
Egyptian newspaper editors, Addis Ababa, 25 July 1989
On 25 July 1989, speaking at Addis Ababa during a meeting with Middle East News Agency and Egyptian newspaper editors, the PLO Chairman, Mr. Y. Arafat, stated,
, that to resolve the Palestine problem, the Namibian example could be followed and these steps taken: (a) a partial Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories should be secured; (b) a timetable should be drawn up for the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops in stages over a period of 27 months; (c) elections to be supervised by the United Nations, and refugees and deportees should be enabled to return to the West Bank and Gaza; and (d) a date for independence should be determined.
Initiative of the Government of Egypt, August 1989
Continuing its efforts to solve the question of Palestine, the Government of Egypt in August 1989 presented its "Clarifications and issues for the Israeli Government: the ten points".
This proposal stipulated the following: (1) the necessity for the participation of all citizens of the West Bank and Gaza (including the residents of East Jerusalem) in the elections both in the voting and in the right to stand as a candidate for any person who had not been convicted by a court of committing a crime. This allows for the participation of those under administrative detention; (2) freedom to campaign before and during elections; (3) acceptance of international supervision of the election process; (4) prior commitment of the Government of Israel that it would accept the results of the elections; (5) commitment of the Government of Israel that the elections will be part of the efforts which would lead not only to an interim phase, but also to a final settlement and that all efforts from beginning to end will be based on the principles of solution according to the United States conception, namely Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), territory for peace, ensuring the security of all the States of the region, including Israel, and Palestinian political rights; (6) withdrawal of the Israeli army during the election process at least one kilometre outside the perimeters of the polling stations; (7) prohibition of Israelis from entering the West Bank and Gaza on election day, with permission to enter only for those who work there and the residents of the settlements; (8) the preparatory period for the elections should not exceed two months. These preparations shall be undertaken by a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee. The United States and Egypt may assist in forming this committee; (9) guarantee by the United States of all the above points, together with a prior declaration to that effect on the part of the Government of Israel; and (10) a halt to settlements.
Seeking to act on Israel's election proposal, the President of Egypt, Mr. Hosni Mubarak, made an effort aimed at holding an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo. No progress was achieved, however, in early October owing to the negative vote of Israel's inner Cabinet on this issue.
Five-point proposal of Mr. James Baker, October 1989
Simultaneously with the Egyptian initiative, another attempt to avert an impasse in moves to initiate the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue was reportedly made by the United States Secretary of State Mr. James Baker. A five-point compromise draft proposal was unofficially submitted by Mr. Baker. According to some reports, the plan contained the following provisions: (1) the United States understands that because Egypt and Israel have been working hard on the peace process, there is agreement that an Israeli delegation should conduct a dialogue with a Palestinian delegation in Cairo; (2) the United States understands that Egypt cannot substitute itself for the Palestinians and Egypt will consult with Palestinians on all aspects of that dialogue. Egypt will also consult with Israel and the United States; (3) the United States understands that Israel will attend the dialogue only after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out; (4) the United States Government understands that the Government of Israel will come to the dialogue on the basis of the Israeli Government's May 14 initiative. The United States further understands that Palestinians will come to the dialogue prepared to discuss elections and the negotiating process in accordance with Israel's initiative. The United States understands, therefore, that Palestinians would be free to raise issues that relate to their opinions on how to make elections and the negotiating process succeed; (5) in order the facilitate this process, the United States proposes that the Foreign Ministers of Israel, Egypt, and the United States meet in Washington within two weeks.
Israel's response to Mr. Baker's proposal, 6 November 1989
In a letter dated 6 November 1989, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, Mr. Moshe Arens informed the United Nations Secretary-General of the Israeli Cabinet's decision to accept the five points as proposed by Mr. Baker.
The letter described Israel's position regarding the question of Palestinian representation at the proposed Israeli-Palestinian dialogue:
"One further point should be mentioned concerning the Palestinian Arab participants in the dialogue with Israel. The Government of Israel's opposition to negotiations with the PLO is clear and unequivocal. It is one of the foundations on which the national unity Government was established, and is based on national consensus. Our position is rooted in our knowledge of the PLO ultimate designs, and also in its campaign of terror directed not only against Jews, but against Palestinians - the very people it purports to represent. Direct or indirect dialogue with the PLO would subvert the logic and undermine the possibility of free elections, and thus of progress towards peace."
Soviet-French statement on the Middle East
Moscow, 14 November 1989
Continuing his earlier initiative, Mr. Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Soviet Foreign Minister, met his French counterpart, Mr. Roland Dumas in November 1989 to discuss progress in the peace efforts pursued by the two Governments. In a statement made in Moscow on 14 November, the two Ministers stated that they favoured a speedy political settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict which would fully meet the vital interests of the peoples and States of that region as well as the interests of the strengthening of international peace and security.
France and the USSR also expressed their intention to step up their activities designed to encourage the ongoing efforts aimed at the establishment of political dialogue between the parties immediately concerned, while respecting their rights and interests, with a view to reducing tension and creating an atmosphere of trust.
Both parties confirmed their readiness to embark on consultations among the permanent members of the Security Council with a view to examining ways of initiating a peace process in the Middle East. France and the USSR also considered that an international conference on the Middle East, with the participation of all the parties concerned and of the five permanent members of the Security Council, would be conducive to an overall settlement which would ensure peace and security for all States in the region, including Israel, on the basis of the principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and of the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Soviet-Egyptian statement on the Middle East
Moscow, May 1990
In mid-May, the President of Egypt, Mr. Hosni Mubarak, visited Moscow and met with the President of the USSR, Mr. Mikhail S. Gorbachev. In a joint statement, both Presidents expressed the need for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and for the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions.
They emphasized the need for a just solution of the Palestine problem, based on the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and to a State of its own. The Presidents considered the situation in the region as one where far more effort, bilateral or multilateral, was needed. They stated that an international peace conference would provide an appropriate way to reach a settlement.
Statement by President George H. Bush announcing the
decision to suspend the PLO-United States dialogue
Huntsville, Alabama, 20 June 1990
Following an attempted seaborne attack on the Israeli coast by Palestinian guerrillas, the United States Government decided to suspend its dialogue with the PLO.
Speaking at a press conference in Huntsville, Alabama, on 20 June 1990, United States President, Mr. George Bush, stated:
"Based on the recommendations of the Secretary of State, I have decided to suspend the dialogue between the United States and the PLO pending a satisfactory response from the PLO of steps it is taking to resolve problems associated with the recent acts of terrorism, in particular, that 30 May terrorist attack on Israel by the Palestine Liberation Front - a constituent group of the PLO.
"We've given the PLO ample time to deal with this issue. To date, the PLO has not provided a credible accounting of this incident or undertaken the actions outlined above. The U.S. does take note of the fact that the PLO has disassociated itself from this attack and issued a statement condemning attacks against civilians in principle, but as we previously indicated, this is not sufficient--this alone is not sufficient.
"The U.S.-PLO dialogue has demonstrated that it can advance the Arab-Israeli peace process, and at the same time the dialogue is based on the assumption that the PLO is willing to abide by the conditions it accepted in December 1988, including renunciation of terror.
"And any time that the PLO is prepared to take the necessary steps, we are prepared to promptly resume the dialogue. In the meantime, we would hope and expect that the peace process would proceed as intend[ed] to the pursuit of a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to a just and lasting peace."
In the same interview, President Bush explained his Government's position on the peace process:
"And as we often stated, it is our view that such a peace must be based on UN resolutions 242 and 338, and the principle implicit therein of Territory for for peace, and provide for Israel's security and Palestinian political rights.
"We believe that Palestinian participation is vital to any successful process and that there are real opportunities for Palestinians in this process. We strongly hope that Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab States will recognize these opportunities and take the necessary steps to create an environment in which a viable peace process can thrive. We denounce violence in the area, and call upon all parties to eschew violence and terror, and opt instead for dialogue and negotiation. We are prepared to continue working with the parties toward this end."
United States-Soviet joint statement on the Persian Gulf
Helsinki, 9 September 1990
During their meeting at Helsinki, on 9 September 1990, the President of the United States, Mr. George Bush, and the President of the USSR, Mr. Mikhail S. Gorbachev, issued a joint statement on the Gulf situation.
Regarding the conflicts in the region, the Presidents stated the following:
"As soon as the objectives mandated by the UN Security Council resolutions mentioned above have been achieved, and we have demonstrated that aggression does not pay, the Presidents direct their Foreign Ministers to work with countries in the region and outside it to develop regional security structures and measures to promote peace and stability. It is essential to work actively to resolve all remaining conflicts in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Both sides will continue to consult each other and initiate measures to pursue their broader objectives at the proper time."
Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization
16 September 1990
In his report on the work of the Organization,
the United Nations Secretary-General stated:
"It is clear that progress cannot be made on the overall situation in the region, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, until the present crisis is set on the way to solution in accordance with the position taken by the Security Council. It is disappointing to note that an impasse has been reached in the effort to promote a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. The
will soon enter its fourth year and, regrettably, the situation in the occupied territories remains bleak, with little hope of early progress. I continue to believe that, in addition to the efforts to promote a dialogue, the Security Council could make an important contribution to the process by renewing its commitment to resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) which, in my view, together with the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination, can constitute the basis of a just and lasting peace in the area.
"The Middle East as a whole continues to be the most explosive region of the world today. Longstanding grievances, which have festered for years, have been aggravated by an escalating arms race throughout the area, which has spawned a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. In the long run, lasting peace will come to the Middle East only when the principles of international law govern the relations between States, when disputes are resolved through peaceful means, when the aspirations of those deprived of their rights have been fulfilled, and Regional
security and economic arrangements--which take into account the concerns of all the parties in the area--have been established."
Statement by President François Mitterrand
before the General Assembly, New York, 24 September 1990
The President of the French Republic, Mr. François Mitterrand, addressing the 4th plenary meeting of the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly, on 24 September 1990, proposed a four-stage plan to solve the problems of the Middle East.
According to the plan, at the first stage, Iraq would affirm its intention to withdraw its troops from Kuwait, which it had occupied on 2 August 1990, and free the hostages. At the second stage, the international community would be able to guarantee the withdrawal of military forces, the restoration of Kuwait's sovereignty and exercise of the democratic will of the Kuwaiti people. At the third stage, confrontation in the Middle East would be replaced with the dynamics of good-neighbourliness and security and peace for each and every party. This included Lebanon, the Palestinians and Israel. President Mitterrand stated that the initiative implied dialogue, direct dialogue between those concerned, agreement with neighbouring States, and finally the approval of the General Assembly. He added that at the end of that road the idea of an international conference must be taken up. The fourth stage of the plan implied a mutually agreed reduction of armaments in the region.
Statement by Mr. Douglas Hurd before the
General Assembly, New York, 26 September 1990
The British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Douglas Hurd, addressing the 8th plenary meeting of the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly, on 26 September 1990, stated the following:
"Once the Iraqis have been withdrawn from Kuwait, we will need to consider how lasting peace can be brought to the Middle East. And perhaps it is not too early to start thinking about how that long-term security can be achieved. . . . There is a need for a new and serious attempt to resolve the complex of Middle East disputes, including, as I have already mentioned, Palestine. There will also need to be a new security structure. This is 1990. It will be for the States in the region to decide how this should be done. It will be for them to take the initiative. No one will attempt to impose a system on them. But I believe the slow but steady progress of the process of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) may be useful to them. The CSCE process allows political dialogue and has established common principles ranging from respect for borders to human rights. There is transparency through confidence- and security-building measures.
Joint statement by the five permanent members of the Security Council
New York, 28 September 1990
On 28 September 1990, a joint statement was made in New York by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the five permanent members of the Security Council. In the statement, the Ministers expressed their deep concern at the aggravation of tensions in the Middle East:
"They reaffirmed their determination to support an active negotiating process in which all relevant parties would participate, leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. They agreed that such negotiations should be based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council and should take into account the right to security for all States in the region, including Israel, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."
Statement by President George H. Bush before the General Assembly
New York, 1 October 1990
Speaking at the 14th plenary meeting of the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly, on 1 October 1990, the President of the United States, Mr. George Bush, addressed,
, the issue of the continuing crisis in the Persian Gulf and possible new post-crisis arrangements for the Middle East.
/ President Bush stated in this regard:
"And one more thing - in the aftermath of Iraq's unconditional departure from Kuwait, I truly believe there may be opportunities: for Iraq and Kuwait to settle their differences permanently; for the States of the Gulf themselves to build new arrangements for stability; and for all the States and peoples of the region to settle the conflict that divides the Arabs from Israel."
Statement by Mr. Douglas Hurd before the Diplomatic
and Commonwealth Writers' Association, London, 4 October 1990
On 4 October 1990, in London, the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Douglas Hurd, addressed the Diplomatic and Commonwealth Writers' Association.
Dwelling upon the role of the United Nations and in particular of the permanent members of the Security Council in setting the stage for an international peace conference on the Middle East and for a long-term peace settlement in the region, he said:
"Cooperation amongst the five permanent members over the Gulf has been heart-warming to anybody interested in seeing the United States function as its Founding Fathers intended. It has also been successful. This model of cooperation could be used to tackle the Palestine problem. The issues are not identical but their importance is. Because a just solution to the Palestine problem is so important to the international community, the five may in the future have a particular role to play, as they have done over regional conflicts from Namibia to Cambodia. They could prepare the way for the international conference which is likely to be necessary.
"Consultations amongst the five and a positive approach in Israel and the Arab countries most closely involved are preparatory steps. We believe that preparation should aim at, and end in, an international conference. All parties with a direct interest should be allowed a seat: the Israelis and Palestinians, other Arab States in the region, the five. The principles guiding discussions should be Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), i.e. land-for-peace and secure borders for Israel and self-determination for the Palestinians. As I said in New York last week, Security Council resolutions should be implemented, not rejected. All States should recognize the right of all other States to exist in peace within internationally recognized borders.
"The need for long-term security is crucial to a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute. It is only by taking into account the long-term consequences and long-term needs of a peace settlement that we can hope to reach a peace settlement."
Mr. Hurd also reiterated his view that "to restore the complex of Middle East disputes, including Palestine, there will need to be a new security structure."
Report of the Secretary-General on the question
of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East
12 November 1990
On 12 November 1990, the Secretary-General, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 44/42 of 6 December 1989, submitted his report on the question of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
/ In preparing this report, the Secretary-General sought the views of the Security Council and the positions of the parties concerned, namely the Governments of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, and of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Based on the replies he had received, the Secretary-General made the following observations:
"It is clear from the communications set out above that sufficient agreement does not exist, either within the Security Council, or amongst the parties to the conflict, to permit the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as called for in resolution 44/42, which like 43/176 before it, was adopted with much wider support than earlier General Assembly resolutions concerning an international conference. It is, in essence, a reaffirmation by the international community of the urgent need to achieve a just and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This sense of urgency is underscored by the members of the Security Council who, as indicated in the President's letter to me of 22 October 1990, remain deeply preoccupied by the lack of progress in achieving peace in the Middle East and by the increasingly serious situation facing the occupied territories and their inhabitants. I fully share the view of the Council that a prolonged delay in the settlement of the Middle East problem poses a grave threat to peace and security in the region as well as of the world, and that the situation in the region is aggravated by the presence of a high level of armaments in many Middle Eastern countries.
"It is thus encouraging to note that there is unanimity within the Security Council that efforts must be continued on an urgent basis to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the situation in the Middle East, particularly a solution of the Palestinian problem in all its aspects. That said, I must add that I am deeply concerned by the absence, at present, of any diplomatic process aimed at overcoming the obstacles to an effective negotiating process in the Middle East. Regrettably, since my last report to the General Assembly on this subject, bilateral efforts to promote a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians have reached an impasse. As for the parties themselves, while it is possible to identify in each of their notes to me a willingness to achieve a settlement through negotiations, it is evident that there is a divergence of views as to the framework and the context within which such negotiations should take place. It is worth noting, in this connection, that the positions of the parties with respect to an international conference have evolved in recent years.
"For my part, I continue to believe that a negotiating process will only be effective if it involves all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, and aims at a just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination. Given the grave dangers in the region that are evident to all, I cannot reiterate too strongly the need to revive efforts aimed at ensuring a just and lasting settlement of a conflict that, for decades, has been a source of continuing instability and has brought immense suffering to Arabs and Israelis alike."
Report of the Secretary-General on the
situation in the Middle East, 26 November 1990
On 26 November 1990, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 44/40 A of 4 December 1989, the Secretary-General submitted his comprehensive report covering the developments in the Middle East in all their aspects.
In the report the Secretary-General said,
"Since I last reported to the General Assembly on the situation in the Middle East, the prospects for progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process appear regrettably to have stalled. A year ago, I drew attention to the heightened expectations that had been generated as a result of dramatic political developments at the end of 1988, which, in turn, had led to important proposals, aimed primarily at launching a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. I pointed out that while it was essential to pursue every initiative that might help bridge the gaps between the parties and bring them to the negotiating table, I could not but be concerned at the fact that valuable time was passing and that the willingness to negotiate that existed at that time would be eroded by bitterness resulting from events on the ground.
"Unfortunately, the efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue reached an impasse in the early months of 1990. Since then, the situation in the occupied territories has worsened, causing the Security Council to focus increasingly on the question of safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians residing there.
"... it is encouraging to note, as I did in my 12 November 1990 report to the General Assembly on the convening of an international peace conference (A/45/709-S/21929), that there is unanimity within the Security Council that efforts must be continued on an urgent basis to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the situation in the Middle East, particularly a solution of the Palestinian problem in all its aspects. I continue to believe that such a settlement can best be achieved through a negotiating process that involves all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, and is based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination."
Statement by the President of the Security Council
20 December 1990
At its 2970th meeting, on 20 December 1990, the Security Council adopted resolution 681 (1990) on the question of the deportation of Palestinian civilians. Prior to the adoption of that resolution, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of its members:*
"The members of the Security Council reaffirm their determination to support an active negotiating process in which all relevant parties would participate leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict through negotiations which should be based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council and which should take into account the right to security of all States in the region, including Israel, and the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people.
"In this context they agree that an international conference, at an appropriate time, properly structured, should facilitate efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement and lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"However, the members of the Council are of the view that there is not unanimity as to when would be the appropriate time for such a conference.
"In the view of the members of the Council, the Arab-Israeli conflict is important and unique and must be addressed independently, on its own merits."
*The United Nations Security Council is composed of 15 members. Five are permanent: China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly to serve two-year terms. At the time this resolution was adopted and the statement made, the non-permanent members of the Security Council were: Canada, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Finland, Malaysia, Romania, Yemen and Zaire.
Statement by the Secretary-General
regarding the situation in the Middle East
United Nations Headquarters, 15 January 1991
On 15 January 1991, the Secretary-General made a statement on the situation in the Middle East
in which, among other things, he said:
"Peace in the region requires that all of its problems be resolved justly and equitably, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. I have every assurance, once again from the highest levels of Government, that with the resolution of the present crisis, every effort will be made to address, in a comprehensive manner, the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the Palestinian question. I pledge my every effort to this end."
Soviet-United States joint statement on the Persian Gulf
Washington, D.C., 29 January 1991
Soon after the start of the hostilities in the Persian Gulf, a Soviet-United States declaration was issued on 29 January 1991 at Washington, D.C.
During their last round of talks, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. James Baker, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Mr. Alexander Bessmertnykh, adopted a joint statement on the Persian Gulf. The statement,
"The Ministers agreed that establishing enduring stability and peace in the region after the conflict, on the basis of effective security arrangements, will be a high priority of our two Governments.
"Working to reduce the risk of war and miscalculation will be essential, particularly because a spiralling arms race in this volatile region can only generate greater violence and extremism.
"In addition, dealing with the causes of instability and the sources of conflict, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, will be especially important. Indeed, both Ministers agreed that without a meaningful peace process - one which promotes a just peace, security, and real conciliation for Israel, Arab States, and Palestinians - it will not be possible to deal with the sources of conflict and instability in the region.
"Both Ministers, therefore, agreed that in the aftermath of the crisis in the Persian Gulf, mutual U.S.-Soviet efforts to promote Arab-Israeli peace and regional stability, in consultation with other parties in the region, will be greatly facilitated and enhanced.
"The two Ministers are confident that the United States and the Soviet Union, as demonstrated in various other regional conflicts, can make a substantial contribution to the achievement of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East."
Remarks by Mr. Alois Mock on steps to achieve peace in the Middle East
Vienna, 18 February 1991
On 18 February 1991, at Vienna, Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alois Mock, proposed a five-point plan to achieve peace in the Middle East.
/ Mr. Mock's proposal stipulated the following:
1. Establishing an Islamic-Western dialogue and examining the possibility of Iran's participation in peace plans in the region.
2. Convening a Middle East conference under the auspices of the United Nations to resolve problems and settle the Arab-Israeli conflict.
3. Convening a conference on security and cooperation in the Middle East, similar to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
4. Eliminating nuclear weapons, and conventional weapons, if possible, in the region.
5. Imposing some sort of control on arms exports, such as limiting arms sales to the region.
Address to the nation by President François Mitterrand
Paris, 3 March 1991
In his address to the nation on 3 March 1991, the President of the French Republic, Mr. François Mitterrand, outlined his country's position regarding the problems of the Middle East.
The President stated that "by advocating the holding of one or several international conferences, under the United Nations aegis, France only wanted to encourage dialogue everywhere". He continued:
"How can peoples who do not talk to each other be reconciled? If we do not, that is, subscribe to the law that might is right. So Israel must genuinely have safe and recognized borders and the means of ensuring her security; the Palestinians, as a people, must have their own identity, homeland, State; Lebanon must freely exercise her sovereignty and I'm not forgetting either Iraq's integrity or her people's aspirations."
The President also made the following observations regarding the future role of the United Nations in the peace process:
"Is this asking too much? Wouldn't this be preferable to endless war, the ever-present threat of death, days and nights spent in anguish, the constant risk of a general conflagration? It seems to me that the role the United Nations has played during this crisis is evidence that we can trust it and that it will be able to restore or rather establish the conciliation and arbitration mechanisms needed to prevent and resolve conflicts.
"Other problems will however remain in the region. . . . this, why not for the first time since it was established convening the Security Council at Head of State and Government level? This was impossible so long as the second world war allies were divided in peace. Well it is now within our reach."
Statement by President George H. Bush in the
United States Congress, Washington, D.C., 6 March 1991
On 6 March 1991, in an address to a joint session of Congress, United States President, Mr. George Bush, reiterated his country's position on the comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.
Regarding the need for a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the President stated:
"All of us know the depth of bitterness that has made the dispute between Israel and its neighbors so painful and intractable. Yet, in the conflict just concluded, Israel and many of the Arab states have for the first time found themselves confronting the same aggressor. By now, it should be plain to all parties that peacemaking in the Middle East requires compromise. At the same time, peace brings real benefits to everyone. We must do all that we can to close the gap between Israel and the Arab States and between Israelis and Palestinians. The tactics of terror lead absolutely nowhere; there can be no substitute for diplomacy.
"A comprehensive peace must be grounded in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of territory for peace. This principle must be elaborated to provide for Israel's security and recognition, and at the same time for legitimate Palestinian political rights. Anything else would fail the twin tests of fairness and security. The time has come to put an end to Arab-Israeli conflict."
Memorandum delivered by a delegation of Palestinians from the
occupied territory to Mr. James Baker, Jerusalem, 12 March 1991
On 12 March 1991, a delegation of Palestinians from the occupied territory met with the United States Secretary of State, Mr. James Baker, at the United States Consulate General at States Consulate General at Jerusalem and delivered to him a memorandum in which,
, the Palestinian delegation stated:
"We, the Palestinians of the
, the portion of the Palestinian nation who bear the yoke of occupation rather than exile and dispersion, on the strength of our commitment to this new vision, affirm the following:
"1. The PLO is our sole legitimate leadership and interlocutors, embodying the national identity and expressing the will of the Palestinian people everywhere. As such, it is empowered to represent us in all political negotiations and endeavours, having the democratic legitimacy of a popular base and enjoying the overwhelming support of its constituency. The Palestinian people alone have the right to choose its leadership and will not tolerate any attempt at interference or control in this vital issue.
"2. We confirm our commitment to the Palestinian peace initiative and political programme as articulated in the 19th PNC of November 1988, and maintain our resolve to pursue a just political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on that basis. Our objective remains to establish the independent Palestinian State on the national soil of Palestine, next to the State of Israel and within the framework of the two-State solution.
"3. Our adherence to international legitimacy remains unwavering, and we uphold the rule of international law in accepting and supporting all UN resolutions pertaining to the question of Palestine, and thus call for their immediate and full implementation.
"4. The national rights of the Palestinian people must be recognized, safeguarded and upheld--foremost among which is our right to self-determination, freedom and statehood.
"5. No State must be singled out for preferential treatment by the international community or considered above the norms and laws that govern the behaviour of or relations among nations. Thus Israel must not be allowed to continue pre-empting, rejecting or violating UN resolutions
the Palestinians especially in the annexation of East Jerusalem, the establishment of settlements, and the confiscation of land confiscation of land and resources. Of particular relevance and urgency is the imperative necessity of applying the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to protect the defenceless and civilian Palestinian population from the brutality of the occupation, particularly in its persistent violations of our most basic human rights and all forms of collective punishments such as house demolitions, closure of universities and schools, curfews, military sieges and economic strangulation.
sovereignty which Israel illegally practices over occupied Palestine must cease immediately, and a system of protection for Palestinians and accountability for Israel must be established and applied within the mandate of the UN with the Security Council exercising its right of enforcement.
"7. The peace process must be advanced with the momentum generated by the will of the international community, and not made subject to Israeli concurrence and rejection.
"8. The most suitable mechanism for advancing the peace process is the International Conference which is capable of producing concrete results. Any transitional steps or arrangements will have to be structured within a comprehensive, interconnected and coherent plan with a specified time frame for implementation and leading to Palestinian statehood.
"9. The peace process cannot be further undermined by Israel's policy of creating facts to alter the geopolitical, demographic or social realities of our area. The political decapitation of the Palestinian people through the arrest and detention of our political activists and peace advocates must stop and the detainees released. The "iron-fist" policy and the escalation of all forms of repression and harassment not only create intolerable conditions for Palestinians but also generate feelings of hostility and bitterness which are capable of sabotaging the peace process.
"10. Security for the whole region will be ensured only through a genuine and internationally-guaranteed peace, not through the acquisition of arms and territory or through violence. Genuine peace and stability will result from addressing the central causes of conflicts in a serious and comprehensive manner, the Palestinian question being the key to regional stability. Only by solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can the Arab-Israeli conflict be solved in a durable and just manner.
"11. The stability and prosperity of the region can be achieved through future cooperation based on mutuality, reciprocity and the recognition and pursuit of joint interests and rights."
Designation by the Secretary-General of his Special Representative
to the Middle East, New York, 21 March 1991
On 21 March 1991, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the United Nations Secretary-General designated Mr. Edouard Brunner, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, as his Special Representative to the Middle East.
Mr. Brunner succeeded in this capacity Mr. Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden.*
* * *
*In operative paragraph 3 of Security Council resolution 242 of 22 November 1967, the Council requested the Secretary-General "to designate a special representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution". In his reports dated 23 November and 22 December 1967, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden had accepted designation as his Special Representative to the Middle East. The Headquarters of the United Nations Middle East Mission (UNMEM) were set up in Cyprus on 10 December 1967. However, despite the efforts of the Special Representative, an agreed basis for discussion did not emerge due to fundamental differences between the parties. The talks were continued intermittently until 1973.
Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. For example, "document A/42/714" is the 714th document issued in the series of main documents of the General Assembly at its forty-second session. A/, E/ and S/ at the beginning of the symbol refer to a document of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, respectively.
Certain documents are also issued or reissued in the
of the body concerned, at which time any mimeographed versions are withdrawn from circulation.
The following notes refer the reader to the version in print, usually mimeographed, at the time the document was issued.
/ See letter dated 20 January 1988 from the Permanent Representative of the Soviet Socialist Republics to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/43/96-S/19442), annex.
/ See letter dated 27 January 1988 from the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/43/112-S/19459), appendix, p. 3.
United States Department of State Bulletin
, vol. 88, No. 2134, May 1988, p. 56.
Journal of Palestine Studies
, vol. XVIII, No. 1, Autumn 1988, pp. 272-275; also
(in Arabic), 18 June 1988.
/ Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-88-147, 1 August 1988, p. 39.
/ "Cairo Declaration on the PLO and Terrorism" was a statement made by Mr. Arafat at Cairo on 7 November 1985. He said,
"The PLO reaffirms its declaration issued in 1974 which condemned all operations outside [Palestine] and all forms of terrorism. And it restates the adherence of all its groups and institutions to that declaration. Beginning today, the PLO will take all measures to deter violators."
(For the full text of this statement see
Journal of Palestine Studies
, vol. XV, No. 2, Winter 1986, pp. 214-216.)
General Assembly resolution 42/159 of 7 December 1987, entitled "Measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardizes fundamental freedoms and study of the underlying causes of those forms of terrorism and acts of violence which lie in misery, frustration, grievance and despair and which cause some people to sacrifice human lives, including their own, in an attempt to effect radical changes", among other things, condemned all acts, methods and practices of terrorism wherever and by whomever committed, including those which jeopardized friendly relations among States and their security.
/ Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-88-179, 15 September 1988, pp. 3-8.
/ See A/43/PV.10 of 30 September 1988, pp. 17-18.
/ See letter dated 18 November 1988 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/43/827-S-20278), annex II.
/ See A/43/PV.78 of 3 January 1989, pp. 33-35.
The Washington Post
, 15 December 1988.
United States Department of State Bulletin
, vol. 89, No. 2143, February 1989, p. 51.
/ See letter dated 28 February 1989 from the Permanent Representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/44/157-S/20498), annex, pp. 8-11.
/ See letter dated 15 May 1989 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/44/282-S/20637), annex. pp. 2-3.
United States Department of State Bulletin
, vol. 89, No. 2148, July 1989, pp. 24-27.
/ Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-89-143, 27 July 1989, p. 1.
/ See note verbale dated 22 November 1989 from the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/44/796-S/20987), appendix, p. 5.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
, vol. VIII, No. 7, November 1989, p. 9.
The Washington Post
, 12 October 1989, and
The Jerusalem Post
, 13 October 1989.
/ See letter dated 10 November 1989 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/44/721-S/20960), annex, p. 3.
/ See letter dated 15 November 1989 from the Permanent Representatives of France and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/44/735-S/20960), annex, p. 2.
, No. 60, May 1990, p. 13.
Journal of Palestine Studies
, vol. XX, No. 1, Autumn 1990, pp. 186-187.
United States Department of State Dispatch
, vol. 1, No. 3, September 17, 1990, p. 92.
/ See Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (A/45/1), p. 10.
/ See A/45/PV.4, pp. 41-42.
/ See A/45/PV.8, p. 41.
/ See letter dated 1 October 1990 from the Permanent Representatives of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/21835), annex, p. 3.
/ See A/45/PV.14, p. 67.
, 5 October 1990.
/ See Report of the Secretary-General on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East (A/45/709-S/21929), pp. 9-10.
/ See Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East (A/45/726-S/21947), pp. 10-11.
/ Note by the President of the Security Council (S/22027).
/ See United Nations, Department of Public Information, Press Release SG/SM/4536 of 15 January 1991.
/ Press Release No. 20 dated 30 January 1991, issued by the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the United Nations; see also
The New York Times
, 31 January 1991.
, 19 February 1991; also Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-91-069, 10 April 1991, p. 5.
/ As per the text of Mr. Mitterrand's speech provided by the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations; see also
, 5 March 1991.
The New York Times
, 7 March 1991.
, 18 March 1991.
/ See United Nations, Department of Public Information, Press Release SG/A/453-BIO/2554 of 21 March 1991.