COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 121st MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 22 November 1985, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Adoption of the agenda
Consideration of draft resolutions on the Question of Palestine
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 records of the meetings of this session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.
The meeting was called to order at 11.25 a.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
1. The agenda was adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
2. Mr. AGIUS (Malta), Rapporteur, placed before the Committee three draft resolutions, A, B and C, which had been modelled on the lines of resolutions 39/49 A, B and C. The drafts had been approved by the officers of the Committee and discussed in the Working Group, which had proposed some amendments, issued separately in English only.
3. Draft resolution A, which dealt with the work of the Committee, and contained its mandate for 1986, was based on the previous resolution apart from paragraphs 4 and 5, which had been redrafted.
4. The Committee would recall that it had decided to send missions to the capitals of States members of the Security Council to promote efforts to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The Committee had been encouraged by the response it had so far received and intended to continue the process. That decision was reflected in paragraph 4, which, as amended by the Working Group, read as follows:
"Authorizes the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations, including representation at conferences and meetings and the sending of delegations where such activities would be considered by it to be appropriate, and to report on its efforts to the General Assembly at its forty-first session and thereafter;"
5. In accordance with the previous year's resolution, the Committee had worked closely with non-governmental organizations and had organized symposia and international meetings for them. The Committee had become aware that additional steps needed to be taken to maintain and expand the progress it had made in that area, and that was reflected in paragraph 5, which, as amended by the Working Group, read as follows:
"Requests the Committee to continue to extend its co-operation to non-governmental organizations in their contribution towards heightening international awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine and creating a more favourable atmosphere for the full implementation of the Committee's recommendations, and to take the necessary steps to expand its contacts with those organizations;"
6. Draft resolution B dealt with the work of the Division for Palestinian Rights, which worked in consultation with the Committee and under its guidance. In keeping with the intentions expressed in paragraph 5 of draft resolution A just quoted, in paragraph 3 of draft resolution B the Secretary-General would be requested to provide the Division with the necessary resources to accomplish its task and to expand its work programme, particularly through additional meetings for non-governmental organizations.
7. The additional meetings were those that had not been considered in the present biennium's programme, namely, a symposium in Europe in 1986, a meeting of the International Co-ordinating Committee for non-governmental organizations in 1986 and another in 1987 to prepare for the annual international meetings of non-governmental organizations, and a meeting each year of the North American Co-ordinating Committee to prepare for the North American symposia. Eighteen meetings were projected for 1986-1987, five more than for 1984-1985. The number of seminars would remain at six.
8. Draft resolution C was concerned with the activities of the Department of Public Information on the question of Palestine. The only new elements in the draft resolution were those pertaining to the production of a new film and radio and television broadcasts on the question.
9. The CHAIRMAN said he hoped that the Committee would also be in a position to submit to the General Assembly, when the Assembly was considering the question of Palestine, a draft resolution on the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
10. Mr. ZARIF (Afghanistan) asked for clarification on paragraph 4 of draft resolution A. For example, he wondered where the delegations the Committee intended to send out would be going.
11. Mr. AGIUS (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the paragraph in question, which had been the subject of detailed discussion in the Working Group, provided the Committee with the means to carry out its work. It was for the Committee to approve each mission on a case by case basis. He reminded members that there was an urgent need to establish the Committee's programme of work.
12. The CHAIRMAN recalled that, for lack of time, it had not been possible to carry out in full the programme of work adopted by the Committee, and that there were still some States members of the Security Council to which missions should be sent.
13. Mr. ZARIF (Afghanistan) said that a number of countries had refused to receive delegations and that five new members entered the Security Council each year. If the principle of sending missions was accepted, it must be fully understood that the decision in each case would be with the Committee, which ought to remain in control of its own activities.
14. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that it was not the wording of the draft resolutions, including draft resolution A, that his delegation questioned but rather what they left out that the Committee should know. There had been delegations and missions had been sent, conferences attended, meetings held and expenditures incurred without the Committee always being informed of the fact. Regrettably, a kind of monopoly had been instituted. Some Committee members had hopes of carving out an empire on the question of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. He deplored the fact that his delegation had not been invited to the meeting of the Working Group that had been held the previous day and asked for clarification.
15. In addition, he asked why delegations had been sent to countries that whole-heartedly backed the Palestinian cause and why meetings had been held with non-governmental organizations which had Zionist leanings and were opposed to the Committee's goals. For all those reasons, it was imperative that the Committee's absolute power of decision should be restored.
16. Finally, his delegation expressed its reservations with regard to paragraphs 48, 49, 53, 60, 75 and 127 of the Committee's report, which constituted interference in the affairs of Lebanon, and on paragraphs 168, 169 and 170. It would in due course be submitting a number of amendments to draft resolution A.
17. The CHAIRMAN said that the officers of the Committee had never had any intention of exercising a monopoly over anything, to engage in empire-building or to send out secret missions. In every initiative it had taken, the officers of the Committee had requested the Committee's authorization. Anyone that considered it had gone beyond its terms of reference should provide evidence to support those allegations.
18. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that he had used the terms empire and monopoly advisedly, and was prepared to provide evidence to support every word he had said. While he had every confidence in the officers of the Committee, he wished to reiterate that some activities had been embarked on without the Committee's authorization.
19. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said that missions should continue to be sent to the capitals of States members of the Security Council, particularly since resolution 39/49 D requested the Secretary-General to work in consultation with the Security Council with a view to convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Delegations sent to Governments that supported the convening of the Conference were also useful, for if contacts with those who supported the same cause were a waste of time, associations formed in solidarity with that cause would have no further raison d'être. As to the others, although the United States had not shown itself willing to receive a delegation from the Committee, the Committee's efforts had persuaded other permanent members of the Security Council, namely France and the United Kingdom, to accept them in principle. It was to be hoped that those missions would take place in 1986.
20. In the case of meetings with non-governmental organizations in North America, he recalled that the United States Government was the Government least favourable to the cause of the Palestinian people. Mobilizing public opinion through the intermediary of the non-governmental organizations would make it possible to exert influence on that Government's actions. It was therefore surprising that there should be a call for cutting down contacts with non-governmental organizations in the United States and Canada. Some people, however, said one thing and did exactly the opposite in matters concerning the Palestinians.
21. Selection of the non-governmental organizations to be invited to take part in symposia was based on a number of criteria, including the endorsement by such organizations of the objectives of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, namely Israel's withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, participation by the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the right of the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights. Non-governmental organizations that did not meet those preliminary conditions should not be invited.
22. He had every confidence in the officers and Chairman of the Committee. As far as he was aware, all the Committee's activities had always been considered and approved by the Committee itself. The Committee must be provided with a detailed account of the financial implications of its activities in 1984 and 1985 if it was to be able to plead its cause effectively in the Fifth Committee.
23. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the preparation of the draft resolutions was the culmination of the Committee's work. They must establish the main directions of its work and of that of the Secretariat. That was particularly important in a year when the budget was being considered.
24. The reason the Working Group had been unable to consider the programme of action in detail was that the Secretariat had not provided the requisite data. It was essential that the Committee should submit its programme to the Secretariat to allow the latter to determine its financial implications. It was time to end the information "blackout" from which the Committee was suffering.
25. His delegation would submit its comments on the 1986-1987 programme in due course. In the meantime, it reiterated its support for the Committee's efforts to accomplish its task in the interests of the Palestinian people.
26. Miss KUNADI (India) hoped that the draft resolution on the International Peace Conference on the Middle East would soon be submitted to the Committee in order that the Committee might give it proper attention, since it was one of the most important aspects of its work. Her delegation shared the concern over the Committee's methods of work. The sending of missions and delegations should be authorized by the Committee. The Committee should, of course, husband its resources and direct its efforts towards the countries that needed to be convinced of the need for an international conference on the Middle East. Within those limits, the officers of the Committee should have some freedom of action in preparing the programme for the biennium 1986-1987. In that connection, the Secretariat should submit a statement of the expenditure incurred during the past two years. On the question of non-governmental organizations, she said her delegation fully supported draft resolution B, provided that the Committee was in possession of all the information necessary to decide on the number of meetings required.
Consideration of draft resolutions A, B and C
Draft resolution A
27. The preamble was adopted.
28. Paragraph 1 was adopted.
29. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said he had reservations with regard to paragraph 2, mainly its endorsement of paragraph 169 of the Committee's recommendations, which covered the sending of missions.
30. Paragraph 2 was adopted.
31. Paragraph 3 was adopted.
32. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) gave his provisional support to the wording of the paragraph as amended. He reserved the right to submit amendments at a later date.
33. Mr. KARRAN (Guyana) asked whether, in view of the reservations expressed by the Syrian Arab Republic, the Committee intended to take a final decision on the three draft resolutions during the meeting. If so, it would perhaps be appropriate to consider the Syrian amendments in order to settle the question once and for all.
34. The CHAIRMAN said that in the case of paragraph 2 the Committee had already discussed the matter at length. It had decided to keep the wording contained in the report and record the Syrian reservations.
35. In the case of paragraph 4, the Syrian Arab Republic should have proposed an amendment before. As it was, the Committee would make its final decision on the text at the meeting it was to hold the following Tuesday.
36. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that his delegation had not been invited to the meeting the Working Group had held the previous day. He had asked the Chairman for an explanation of that omission but had received no reply. The amendment he would propose would provide for deleting from paragraph 4 of draft resolution A any reference to the sending of delegations.
37. The CHAIRMAN said that the Secretariat had been unable to invite anybody other than the members of the Working Group, since it had not had time to communicate with the observers. With regard to the amendment, the same question had been discussed the previous year. While taking note of the reservations expressed by the Syrian Arab Republic, he indicated that such missions would be undertaken as soon as they had been approved by the majority of members of the Committee.
38. Paragraph 4 was adopted.
Paragraphs 5 to 8
39. Paragraphs 5 to 8 were adopted.
40. Draft resolution A was adopted.
Draft resolution B
41. The preamble was adopted.
Paragraphs 1 and 2
42. Paragraphs 1 and 2 were adopted.
43. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that in the light of the comments made during the meeting on the detailed appropriation programme for the biennium 1986-1987, he could not take a position on that paragraph. He would accept it ad referendum pending a detailed examination of programme.
Paragraphs 4 to 6
44. Paragraphs 4 to 6 were adopted.
45. Draft resolution B was adopted.
Draft resolution C
46. The preamble was adopted.
47. Paragraph 1 was adopted.
48. Mr. AL SAID (Department of Public Information), in reply to a question from Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic), said that the special programme referred to in paragraph 2 was merely the continuation of activities undertaken by the Department in accordance with resolutions 38/58 E and 39/49 C.
49. Paragraph 2 was adopted.
50. Draft resolutions A, B and C were adopted in first reading.
51. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China) said that the Committee's rules of procedure clearly indicated that all Committee members and observers could take part in the deliberations of the Working Group. The Working Group had held a meeting the previous day in order to discuss the draft resolutions. His delegation would have liked to take part but had unfortunately not been informed that the meeting was being held.
52. The CHAIRMAN said that the meeting had been called at the last moment and that, as a result, it had been impossible to invite all observer delegations. He apologized once again to Committee members and observers and assured them that every effort would be made in future to enable them to take part in meetings of the Working Group.
53. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would be celebrated on 29 November 1985. The PLO Office in Washington had accordingly invited the head of the United Nations Information Centre in Washington to take part in the festivities that had been planned. The head of the Information Centre had said that neither he nor the members of his staff would be taking part in those activities. The PLO delegation wished that attitude to be brought to the notice of the under-Secretary-General for Public Information. As far as his delegation was aware, the United Nations Information Centres were a part of the Organization and not of the Israeli mission.
54. He was also surprised that, with reference to the question of Palestine, the Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly described the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People without mentioning the part that had been played by the United Nations since 1947. An outside observer might thus be given the impression that the problem was a new one. Care should be taken in preparing future reports to go back as far as the 1947 resolution, the adoption of which had led to the dispersion of the Palestinian people. That had been the genesis of the problem.
Mr. AL SAID (Department of Public Information) said that in 1985, as in previous years, the Department had sent instructions concerning the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to all United Nations Information Centres. He took note of the comments of the representative of the PLO. In view of the imminence of the event, he would communicate immediately with the United Nations Information Centre at Washington in order to clarify the situation.
The meeting rose at 12.50 p.m.