COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE
RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 70th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 23 October 1981, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Adoption of the agenda
Report of the Chairman of the Working Group on its 7th meeting held on 14 October 1981
Preparations for the general debate on item 31 of the agenda of the General Assembly (Question of Palestine) Other matters
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room A-3550, 866 United Nations Plaza.
Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.
The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
1. The provisional agenda proposed by the Chairman was adopted .
REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ITS 7th MEETING HELD ON 14 OCTOBER 1981
2. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), speaking as Chairman of the Working Group, reported that at its 7th meeting held on 14 October 1981, the Working Group had considered a number of invitations extended to the Committee to participate in meetings to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
3. The Committee had first been invited to participate in celebrations of the International Day on 29 November at Geneva and 30 November at Brussels. The Ambassador of Guyana had agreed to represent the Committee on those occasions.
4. Secondly, the United Nations Council for Namibia had invited a representative of the Committee to address the Council on 27 November at its meeting to observe the International Day. The Working Group had decided that the Chairman of the Committee should represent it on that occasion.
5. Finally, the Committee had been invited to send representatives to a Conference on Palestinian Rights to be held in Copenhagen from 7 to 10 December by the International Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN). So far, no decision has been taken as to who should represent the Committee at that Conference.
6. With regard to the report of the Committee adopted at its 69th meeting, the Secretariat informed him that the recommendations which the Committee had attached to its report to the thirty-fifth session of the General Assembly could not be reissued in a subsequent report since they were already reproduced in the annex to General Assembly resolution 35/169. The Working Group, however, had felt that those recommendations reflected the main essence of the Committee's work and that, although the Security Council had failed to take action on them, they still represented the only agreed basis for resolving the question of Palestine in accordance with General Assembly resolutions. The Committee had repeatedly urged the Security Council to consider its recommendations with a view to taking action thereon, and the General Assembly had constantly reiterated that those recommendations represented a basis for solving the issue. The Working Group had therefore decided unanimously that the recommendations should be reissued in the Committee's report to the thirty-sixth session.
7. The Working Group had also considered various administrative aspects of the Committee's future work. It had concluded that the Committee's public relations and information work was extremely useful, and it had observed that the demand forth e publications of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights far exceeded the supply of such publications and the Unit's ability to disseminate them. If the Committee’s work was not fully publicized, much of its value would be lost. The Group had therefore decided that the Unit's publications should be issued in more languages, including languages other than the official languages of the United Nations, and that United Nations offices the world over should be able to distribute them widely. The Working Group and the Secretariat had prepared a draft resolution on those and other administrative questions, and, if the draft was adopted by the Committee, it would be submitted to the General Assembly together with the Committee's other resolutions. The draft resolution had financial implications and therefore required early consideration.
8. The Working Group had also discussed the need to update the 1979 film on Palestinian rights, which had been extremely successful. Two years had elapsed since the film had been made; and it must now be updated in order to give a more accurate picture of the Committee's recent activities and of the current situation in Palestine.
9. The Working Group had also taken the view that public relations activities should be concentrated in those countries where the misinterpretation of the question of Palestine was most serious. It had therefore decided to concentrate in the coming year on public relations and information activities in North America. The regional seminars held in 1981 had been highly successful but it had been felt that an annual seminar in North America, in addition to the forthcoming seminar in Europe, was much needed.
10. The Working Group had further decided that the Committee should consider splitting the Working Group into special subject-oriented subgroups – for instance, a task force on developments in the occupied territories and a task force to plan the Committee's future action. Such a reorganization would respond more fully to the demands of the Committee's work and would be conducive to more concentrated action. The membership of the Working Group might have to be expanded in order to permit such a reorganization.
11. The Working Group had also decided that the Committee should start to contact those Member States which were to be members of the Security Council in 1982, in order to prepare fully for the change in membership and to press for Security Council consideration of the question of Palestine. It was the Committee's task to remind the Security Council that the General Assembly, in its resolution 35/169, had requested the Council to convene in order to consider the Committee's report. The Security Council had not done so at any time in 1981. At its 69th meeting, the Committee had also expressed its regret that the Security Council Commission established under resolution 446 (1979) had not met during 1981; that was further evidence that the Security Council had not acted on the General Assembly's resolutions on Palestine. He would suggest that the Committee should draw the Security Council's attention to the General Assembly's request that it convene to consider the question of Palestine. That question was to be discussed in the plenary in early December, and there was ample time for the Security Council to meet before then. If it did meet, the Committee would be able to report on its meeting to the General Assembly.
12. The CHAIRMAN said that on 20 October, pursuant to operative paragraph 13 of General Assembly resolution 35/169, he had requested the President of the Security Council to report on the action taken by the Council in accordance with that resolution.
13. The draft resolution prepared by the Working Group contained two specific proposals, firstly that the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights should be redesignated, and secondly that a seminar on Palestine should be held annually in North America. The seminars held recently in Asia and Latin America had in fact concluded that the North American public needed more information on the question of Palestine, since the information it was given was mostly partial and incomplete, and it was difficult for people in North America to understand the issue.
14. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Special Unit on Palestinian Rights), replying to a question by Mr. SREENIVASAN (India), said that no statement of the financial implications of the draft resolution had yet been prepared. Once a statement had been prepared, it could be made available to the Committee before the draft resolution was submitted to ACABQ and the Fifth Committee.
15. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the oral report by the Chairman of the Working Group and, subject to the financial implications, the draft resolution prepared by the Group.
16. It was so decided.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE GENERAL DEBATE ON ITEM 31 OF THE AGENDA OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (QUESTION OF PALESTINE)
17. The CHAIRMAN announced that the general debate on item 31 on the agenda of the General Assembly would commence in the plenary on 1 December. The first speakers would be the Chairman and the Rapporteur of the Committee and the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
18. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)) recalled that the Committee had, in the past, tried to persuade the Secretary-General to intervene in the case of Palestinian student Ziyad Abu Ain who was currently detained in the United States of America. The Secretary-General had replied that he could not intervene since Ziyad Abu Ain's case was sub judice. Now, however, the United States Supreme Court had rejected an appeal by Ziyad Abu Ain and had referred his case to the United States Department of State. The case had thus become a political issue, and it was now for the United States Secretary of State to decide whether to release Ziyad Abu Ain or order his deportation.
19. He urged the Committee to report to the Secretary-General on those developments and on the violation of Ziyad Abu Ain's human rights, especially since the case against him was based on a confession which he had later retracted, on the grounds that he had been forced to sign it although it was written in Hebrew, a language which he did not understand. The United States Supreme Court had accepted the Israeli Government's version of the case, however, and had refused to consider Ziyad Abu Ain's appeal. There was thus good reason now for the Secretary-General to intervene in the case.
20. The item on Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories was not to be considered in detail by the Special Political Committee until mid-November. However, recent press reports indicated that Israel was intensifying its excavations underneath Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Holy Sanctuary) in Jerusalem. The New York Times had even reported that explosives had been placed under the Holy Sanctuary.
21. Faced with that serious situation, the Group of Arab countries and the Islamic Conference had decided to urge the Special Political Committee to consider the issue without delay, and the Special Political Committee had agreed to meet on the morning of 26 October 1981, as a matter of urgency. He hoped that the Chairman would convey to that meeting the Committee's concern at Israel's action. That would be fully in accordance with the Committee's mandate, and he hoped that the Security Council would take positive action in the matter.
22. Mr. NAIK (Pakistan) endorsed the suggestions by the Observer for the PLO. His delegation had in fact co-sponsored the draft resolution that was to be submitted to the Special Political Committee at its meeting on 26 October.
23. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) observed that the draft resolution on Al-Haram Al-Sharif had been sponsored by all the members of the Arab Group and the Islamic Conference. If other members of the Committee also wished to sponsor it, they could obtain the text from the secretariat of the Islamic Conference.
24. Mr. SCHROETER (German Democratic Republic) endorsed the proposal that the Chairman should address the Special Political Committee on 26 October on behalf of the Committee.
25. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee agreed to the proposal that he should convey to the Secretary-General the Committee's concern regarding Ziyad Abu Ain.
26. It was so decided.
27. The CHAIRMAN, referring to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, said that on 17 September he had already drawn the attention of the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council to the gravity of Israel's actions and the need to take steps to halt them. The Special Political Committee had in fact decided that a representative of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People should address it at its 26 October meeting on that issue.
28. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that he would be unable to continue his work as Chairman of the Working Group of the Committee, since other commitments would prevent him from devoting the required amount of time to that important function. His country was endeavouring to resolve a bilateral issue, but unfortunately the other party had not shown any willingness to facilitate matters. Depending on further developments, that situation might also prevent him from continuing his duties as Rapporteur.
29. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) expressed the hope that Mr. Gauci, as Rapporteur of the Committee, would introduce the report of the Committee at a plenary meeting of the General Assembly before the general debate on the Palestinian question.
30. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that he would certainly do so if he could.
31. Mr. RASOLONDRAIBE (Madagascar) expressed his delegation's satisfaction with the report introduced by Mr. Gauci and with the outstanding work which he had accomplished in the Committee over the years.
32. Mr. NAIK (Pakistan) said that his delegation had taken note of the statement just made by Mr. Gauci, but appealed to him to continue as long as possible his work in the Working Group, over which he had presided with such dedication and distinction.
33. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had taken note of the statement made by Mr. Gauci. On behalf of the members of the Committee, he urged Mr. Gauci to continue his work within the Committee as long as possible.
The meeting rose at noon.