COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE
RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 28th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 22 February 1978 at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. FALL (Senegal)
Programme of work of the Committee
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages, preferably in the same language as the text to which they refer. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also, if possible, 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.
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.
PROGRAMME OF WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
1. Mr. KORNEYENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) observed that the programme of work submitted by the Task Force quite correctly repeated the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40, on the question of Palestine. However, the last paragraph of the report of the Chairman of the Task Force, concerning studies and publications, should be studied in further detail in order that the Committee might have a clearer idea of exactly what publications might be issued.
2. The CHAIRMAN said it was his understanding that the Ukrainian representative meant that the Committee should approve all publications.
3. Mr. KORNEYENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said the Chairman's understanding was correct; at the same time, he had wished to suggest that the Committee should be given more detailed proposals regarding studies and publications.
4. The CHAIRMAN said it was clear that, since the Committee must always give final approval to plans for studies and publications, it must be able to make final changes and request clarifications when necessary. The job of the Task Force was not yet completed and the Committee would be able, in due time, to consider individual paragraphs of the proposed programme of work in greater detail.
5. He wished to comment on the paragraph in the report of the Chairman of the Task Force which referred to the letters addressed to the President of the General Assembly and others pursuant to paragraph 7 of General Assembly resolution 32/40 A. In that connexion, the Task Force had decided that the Committee might repeat the action it had taken in 1977 by inquiring of the competent bodies what action they had taken in pursuance of paragraph 5 of the resolution. The letters had included a letter addressed to the Secretary-General inquiring what the Secretariat – acting through UNRWA, the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and the International Committee of the Red Cross – might be able to do as preparatory work to implement the Committee's recommendations (A/32/35, annex I). He would send another letter to the Secretary-General asking him whether those three bodies now had anything to report on that matter.
6. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee approved the programme of work for 1978.
7. It was so decided.
8. Mr. DATCU (Romania) said that the Committee should consider the question of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with a certain urgency. It must decide as soon as possible how the Day was to be celebrated and formulate proposals in that respect. The preparations should be carried out with the participation of the Secretariat and in consultation with the Office of Public Information. The element of time must be borne in mind, since it would take several months to prepare a celebration of the dignity required by the occasion. It must also be remembered that the first observance would set a precedent for subsequent ones.
9. The CHAIRMAN agreed that the Committee should consider the question and pointed out that the date of 29 November was symbolic, inasmuch as it was the date of the partition of Palestine. The Task Force should make proposals on the matter and the Secretary-General should be asked to inform all Member States of the General Assembly's decision to set aside the date of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
10. The CHAIRMAN recalled that at the previous meeting, he had referred to a dispatch from Agence France Presse which had incorrectly stated that the rights of the Palestinian people were being recognized for the first time by a United Nations body. His clarification to the effect that the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people went back as far as 1946 and that a great many United Nations resolutions had reaffirmed them since that time had been published by OPI as a press release on 17 February. He believed he was right in saying that Agence France Presse had not published that clarification. That was regrettable and he would ask the Secretariat to contact the AFP representative in that connexion.
11. On the question of the establishment of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights, he informed members that after the 27th meeting he had spoken to the Assistant Secretary-General in charge of the matter, who had informed him that preparations were well under way and the staff was being chosen.
12. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said the fact that Agence France Presse had not published the Chairman's clarification did not surprise him.
13. The New York Times had published a very unfounded article on 16 February and an editorial on 17 February, apparently based on an OPI press release. He felt that OPI had not been honest in reporting what had taken place in the Committee. In the case he was referring to, the misrepresentation of facts had led to the belief that the Committee was hostile to the United States and other States because the press release had only reported that, in the Committee's view, the staff of the Secretariat Unit on Palestinian Rights should not include nationals of countries which had expressed objection to its establishment, when the Chairman himself had also said the Unit should not include nationals of the confrontation States. He did not understand why OPI had selected one part of the Chairman's statement for the press release, although, admittedly, it had subsequently issued a correction.
14. There was another aspect of the Committee's discussion that had not appeared the press release. The Chairman had explained why the establishment of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights had been delayed. In thanking the Chairman for his clarification, he had said that it should dispel any doubts regarding the intentions of the Secretariat concerning the Unit. That had not been reflected in the press release.
15. The continued delay in the establishment of the Unit gave cause for concern. The Unit had to produce six studies of approximately 50 pages each and three bulletins of approximately 20 pages each by September 1978. Furthermore, it would not be easy to produce a film in two or three months. Did the Secretariat abide by the resolutions of the General Assembly or was it somehow, whether in good faith or otherwise, delaying the establishment of the Unit? If he sounded aggressive, that was because he knew there had been great opposition to the Unit on the part of the enemies of the rights of the Palestinian people. It was gratifying to hear the Chairman say that preparations for the establishment of the Unit were well under way. He hoped it would be able to begin its work by 1 March.
16. The CHAIRMAN said he had read the articles in The New York Times and did not think they were too distorted, although, admittedly, the headline of the article of 16 February seemed tendentious, since it gave the impression that the Committee was discriminating against United States citizens. The text of the article provided fuller details, although it omitted to state that the Committee had also been concerned that the Unit should not include nationals of the confrontation States. The Committee could not, after all, count on The New York Times to publish the right information.
17. The question of the objectivity of OPI, however, was more serious. The Secretariat could not claim it did not have enough information. He would ask the Secretary of the Committee to discuss the matter with OPI with a view to ensuring that it reported accurately on the Committee's activities. He wished to stress that the Committee was not against anyone or anything; its purpose was a positive one, namely, to protect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It had no interest in slandering any country or community. It deserved the same kind of treatment in return; he would make every effort to ensure that that rationale was applied by all United Nations bodies with which it had relations, particularly OPI.
18. He, too, hoped that the Unit would be ready to begin its work by 1 March.
The meeting rose at 11.30 a.m.