COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE
RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 21st MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 12 May 1977, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. FALL (Senegal)
Organization of work (continued)
This record is subject to correction.
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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.
ORGANIZATION OF WORK (continued )
1. The CHAIRMAN recalled that at its previous meeting the Committee had decided to request additional information from certain States, in particular Western European countries, concerning their position on the Palestine question. In accordance with that decision, he had sent a letter to the Governments of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States; members of the Committee could obtain a copy of that letter from the Secretariat. So far no replies had been received. He therefore suggested that he should, as soon as possible, contact the representatives of those countries to the United Nations in order to consider with them whether the Security Council could not adopt a more constructive attitude when it came to examine the Committee's recommendations.
2. He also intended to make a statement in the Economic and Social Council when it considered the question of human rights in the occupied territories. He had also sent a letter to the World Health Organization in Geneva in order to draw that organization's attention to the Committee's report (A/31/35) and to request it to give due attention to the health problems arising in the occupied territories, in particular in Palestine. That inadequate health situation was also referred to in the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (A/31/12 and Add.1) and he intended to send a telegram to the High Commissioner requesting him to urge the World Health Organization to concern itself with the situation.
3. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the situation in Palestine was constantly evolving as contacts were under way between the various interested parties and certain prominent members of the Security Council. It had been decided at the Committee's previous meeting that it would be useful for the Committee's task force and drafting group to keep abreast of developments. It was desirable that the replies to the letters sent by the Chairman should arrive in time to be studied at the next meeting of the Security Council, unless the representatives of the countries concerned made their replies known on that occasion.
4. Perhaps, in order to ensure that its recommendations were duly taken into consideration, the Committee should authorize the Chairman to send a letter to
the Security Council at the appropriate time, emphasizing that the Committee's
recommendations were well within the mandate given to it and drawing the attention of members of the Council to paragraph 4 of resolution 31/20 on the question of Palestine, adopted by the General Assembly at its latest session. The letter could mention the fact that it was now generally agreed that the Palestine problem was at the heart of the Middle East question, and stressed that the Committee's recommendations followed logically from the principle of the inadmissibility of the occupation of Palestine and that the implementation of its recommendations, if they were adopted by the Council, would represent definite progress towards a just and lasting peace in the region. The letter could also include a reminder that it was high time that the resolutions adopted by the Security Council, in particular resolution 237, adopted unanimously 10 years earlier, were effectively implemented, and express the hope that the Council would delay no further in adopting specific measures and a more constructive attitude with regard to the Palestine question.
5. The drafting group could prepare the text of the letter for submission to the Security Council at the appropriate time. To that end, it should meet during the next two weeks so that the final document could be considered by the Committee before being sent to the President of the Council.
6. The CHAIRMAN said that the solution proposed by the Rapporteur was in complete conformity with General Assembly resolution 31/20, which had been adopted following consideration of the Committee's report. The advantage of the proposal was that the Rapporteur suggested making no changes in the recommendations submitted by the Committee but rather that they should be submitted to the Security Council together with an explanatory document setting out the principles underlying the recommendations – in particular, recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination and the non-validity of the acquisition of territory by force – principles on which the United Nations was based. The sending of the letter would not preclude the possibility of direct statements by the Chairman and any members of the Committee who might wish to participate in the Council's discussions on the matter. The drafting group should begin work immediately so that the Committee could have a draft text available within two or three weeks.
7. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization), speaking at the invitation of the Chairman, thanked the Chairman for his initiative in contacting the World Health Organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Palestine Liberation Organization had, for its part, sent a special delegation to Geneva to participate in the work of the World Health Organization.
8. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) supported the Rapporteur's proposals but felt that the time-limit for preparing the document, namely two or three weeks, was somewhat long. He hoped that work would progress sufficiently quickly for the Committee's recommendations and the accompanying explanatory letter to be submitted to the Security Council before June, while a third world country was still President of the Council.
9. The CHAIRMAN agreed that the President of the Security Council played an
important role but pointed out that action by the Council depended on all the
members of the Council. In June, Canada would be President of the Council. He, too, would have preferred to have the question taken up in May; however, he did not think it wise to submit the question to the Council hastily, since, in any case, it would not be possible to do so before the end of May; it would do more harm than good to begin the discussion at that time, because it would have to be either continued under another President, which was not desirable, or closed prematurely, which was even less desirable; it was important that the work of the Committee should be the subject of an in-depth exchange of views in the light of the evolution of the situation and the negotiations which were currently taking place outside the United Nations.
10. It was known that the President of the United States, whose role in the settlement of the question under consideration was generally agreed to be significant, if not predominant, was currently holding consultations with the Heads of Arab States, although some, and not the least important among them, had still not been able to meet with him; the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, for instance, was not expected in Washington until the end of the month. All those factors suggested, therefore, that action should proceed cautiously, since it was absolutely essential that the debate should not be bungled. For that reason, the time-limit proposed for the submission of the drafting group's text to the Committee was relatively long. He noted that the Rapporteur and the members of the drafting group would have to agree on a date to begin their work.
11. For his part, he intended to remain in contact with the President of the
Security Council and request him to undertake to obtain replies from the Western European countries to which, as he had previously indicated, he had sent a letter. He was surprised that the replies should be slow to arrive since he had merely requested the Governments of those countries to confirm statements made either by the Head of State himself or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
12. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization), noting that at the Committee's previous meeting it had been agreed that the views expressed by delegations in the general debate on the Palestine question held in the General Assembly would be collected in a document to be prepared by the Secretariat, asked whether that had been done.
13. The CHAIRMAN confirmed that the Secretariat had carried out that task and said that the document in question had been made available to the drafting group. He would ask the Secretariat to circulate additional copies to members of the Committee.
14. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) requested clarification on another matter. The Economic and Social Council currently had before it a draft resolution concerning the convening of a World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. He had heard from the representative of Nigeria, who had heard it from the Indian delegation, that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People did not intend to be represented at that Conference. He felt that that must be a false rumour, as he hoped the Chairman would confirm.
15. The CHAIRMAN said he could not understand who could have started such a rumour. If the Committee was invited to attend the Conference, there was no doubt that it would accept the invitation. He therefore authorized the representative of Tunisia to deny formally any rumours which raised doubts about the Committee's intentions in that regard.
16. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) said that, as far as participation in that Conference was concerned, the formula adopted was that "interested committees" should be invited. It was therefore clear that the invitation also included the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
17. The CHAIRMAN said that, in that case, the question was settled and he would, at the appropriate time, make arrangements for the Committee to be represented at the Conference.
The meeting rose at 11.35 a.m.