COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE
RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 30th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 20 March 1978 at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. FALL (Senegal)
Draft of letter to the President of the Security Council
Participation of the Committee in the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination
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 11.20 a.m.
DRAFT OF LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
1. The CHAIRMAN said that, following the recent tragic events in Lebanon, he had taken the initiative in convening the Committee, whose duty it was to draw the attention of all concerned – particularly the Security Council – to the imperative need to find a solution to the question of Palestine. That need was underlined in the draft letter to the President of the Security Council prepared during recent consultations between the Chairman and the Secretary of the Committee; the draft letter read as follows:
"New York, 20 March 1978
"I am authorized to communicate to you that the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People fully associate themselves with the demand of the Security Council (resolution 425 (1978)) that Israel cease immediately its military action against territorial integrity of Lebanon and withdraw forthwith its forces from all the territory of Lebanon.
"The tragedy which has once again fallen on the population of Lebanon as a result of the Israeli invasion is a reason for deep concern and anxiety for the Committee I have the honour to chair.
"First of all, nobody can deny that this invasion considerably complicates the settlement of the problem of the Middle East in its entirety and affects in a profoundly negative way all efforts made for achieving a just and lasting settlement, of which the question of Palestine is a central element. As we have repeatedly affirmed, no viable peace can be reached in the region unless the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people are taken into consideration.
"At the same time our concern is all the greater that the Israeli attack has been mainly directed against Palestinians, who are in Lebanon because they have been prevented from establishing a country of their own where they can return and live in peace with their neighbours.
"As you well know, Mr. President, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People worked out a concrete programme of recommendations for the just and equitable solution of the question of Palestine, in conformity with the Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations. The General Assembly of the United Nations, at its 31st session, approved these recommendations as a basis for the solution of the question of Palestine, and urged the Security Council to examine them again. Unfortunately, despite all efforts made, the Security Council has not yet been able to seriously consider this problem with a view to arriving at a positive conclusion on the above-mentioned recommendations and on their implementation. I believe that today one can affirm with certainty that many innocent lives could have been spared if the Security Council had exercised its responsibilities by bringing its contribution to the efforts aimed at advancing towards the settlement of the question of Palestine.
"Obviously the Security Council continues to remain seized with the recommendations of the General Assembly concerning the creation of conditions for enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights. In the light of the tragic events going on in Lebanon, it is clearer than ever that as long as firm steps will have not been taken towards the achievement of a just and lasting settlement of all questions of the Middle East, including the Palestinian problem, there will be no peace, security and tranquillity in the area.
"The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People considers that under the present circumstances it is absolutely necessary for the Security Council to act in a more active and determined way for the urgent establishment of peace in the Middle East. In this sense, a positive response to the recommendations of the General Assembly on the question of Palestine and the achievement of substantive progress towards the solution of this question shall not be further delayed. The present state of immobilism contains the risk of new confrontations and at the same time leads to the aggravation of the threat to international peace and security.
"I would be grateful if the present letter were published as an official document of the Security Council.
"Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
"Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People"
2. He asked members of the Committee to submit their suggestions concerning the letter.
3. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) thanked the Chairman for the steps he had taken. He informed members of the Committee that at 11 a.m. (New York time) the Israelis had launched massive attacks by air, sea and land against Tyre which, as he had learned with concern, they were calling "biblical Tyre". That news obviously strengthened the PLO's argument that Israel had a dual objective: to annihilate the PLO – in the words of the Israeli leaders themselves – and to seize part of Lebanon, particularly the Litani region.
4. On the previous day the Security Council had adopted resolution 425 (1978) calling upon Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from Lebanese territory. In the 24 hours that had elapsed the Israelis seemed to have taken no heed of those provisions. The PLO hoped that the Chairman of the Committee would get in touch with the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General in order to determine to what extent Israel was prepared to respect that decision.
5. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) thanked the Chairman for the steps he had taken. By reason of the recent events in Lebanon, his delegation whole-heartedly supported the immediate dispatch of the request to the Security Council, as formulated by the Chairman of the Committee. However, in the draft letter the words "the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People fully associate themselves with the demand of the Security Council" were used; that implied that they approved Security Council resolution 425 (1978) as a whole, but that resolution contained elements which were not endorsed by all members of the Committee.
6. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the members of the Committee were associating themselves, not with the Security Council's decision but with its call upon Israel immediately to cease its military action (para. 2). Moreover, the purpose of the letter was not to request an urgent meeting of the Security Council but solely to remind the Council that it should consider the recommendations approved by the General Assembly for a just and equitable solution to the question of Palestine, recommendations of which the Security Council was seized.
7. Mr. KORNEYENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) read out a dispatch issued by the TASS news agency which was clearly of interest to members of the Committee. In the text of the dispatch it was stated that Israel was seeking to realize its long-standing design to occupy the southern part of Lebanon and defeat the Palestinian resistance movement, the staunch fighter in the struggle for the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine. That intention was obvious from the resolution passed by the Israeli Parliament on the eve of the invasion of Lebanon, which called for ruthless struggle against the Palestine Liberation Organization and for physical destruction of its leaders. All of that obviously revealed once again the real policy of Israel, which was striving, not for peace in the Middle East, but for refashioning the map of the region. All the verbiage and manoeuvres concerning the talks between Egypt and Israel were and always had been a smokescreen for the continuation of aggressive actions by Israel against its Arab neighbours. Moreover, Israel clearly could not have undertaken such an action without the tacit support of those who were supplying arms to it. Current developments in the region bore out once again the validity of the repeated warnings by the Soviet Union that the lack of a settlement of the Middle East conflict, the occupation of Arab lands by Israel and the trampling of the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine were creating a situation fraught with danger and one which was bound to lead to military clashes. The TASS agency had been authorized to state that the Soviet
Union resolutely condemned the armed invasion of Lebanon by Israel and called
upon all who cherished peace to combine their efforts so that Israel's aggression could be ended and its troops immediately withdrawn from the territory of Lebanon. The Israeli Government would bear full responsibility for the dangerous consequences of the fresh aggravation of the situation in the Middle East.
8. He added that, like most of the members of the Committee, his delegation felt that the Israeli aggression was greatly aggravating the situation in the Middle East and impeding efforts to achieve a settlement in that region.
9. He wished to point out that the Security Council resolution (S/RES/425 (1978)) referred to in the draft letter had not been adopted unanimously. His delegation's position on the matter had been set forth in the Council and was well known. He therefore proposed that members of the Committee should be given the necessary time to study the draft letter and, if they wished, propose amendments, which could be submitted within a time-limit set by the Chairman. In that way, the views of all members would be taken into consideration.
10. The CHAIRMAN said he wished to note once again that the draft letter did not cite the entire resolution but only the paragraph in which the Security Council called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action against Lebanon. He also wished to recall that the Council had had two draft resolutions before it; those members who had abstained in the vote on the second draft resolution, introduced by the United States, had supported the first draft, the wording of which had been employed in the draft sponsored by the United States with the addition of certain other elements whose inclusion had resulted in the abstentions. He was fully in agreement with the idea of deferring consideration of the draft letter so that amendments could be submitted.
11. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that photocopies should be made of the draft letter and circulated at once to the members of the Committee.
12. Mr. DIAKITE (Mali) pointed out that the refugee camps were being constantly bombed by Israel; in the draft letter, the Committee should first of all make known its position in that regard and then mention the Security Council's decision. As to the main content of the draft letter, delegations should have time to study it and to make amendments if they wished. In the meantime, the Committee could authorize the Chairman to inform the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General of the Committee's concern at the fact that Israel was paying so little attention to the Council's resolution.
13. The CHAIRMAN said that he was in constant touch with the Secretary-General and that the draft letter contained the two elements mentioned by the representative of Mali. What was essential now was to ensure the implementation of the Security Council's decision.
14. Mr. JOACHIMI (German Democratic Republic) said that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon was directed against the people of Lebanon and against the Palestinians living in that country; it represented a further escalation of the brutal policy of force against the Arab people which continued to affect in particular the Palestinian people.
15. Those acts of aggression called for unity among all progressive forces with a view to achieving an early fundamental settlement of the Middle East conflict, in which implementation of the rights of the Palestinian people played a key role.
16. His delegation strongly condemned the latest Israeli aggression and demanded the immediate cessation of military actions and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Lebanese territory in conformity with the Security Council's decision. That decision could not by itself solve the problems existing in the region – a fact which underlined the Committee's continuing responsibility in that regard.
17. His delegation agreed with the Ukrainian and Malian delegations that members of the Committee should be given an opportunity to study the text of the letter.
18. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Committee should merely wait until the photocopies requested of the Secretariat were ready, which should not take long. Since the very existence of the Palestinian people was at stake, the Committee would have to shoulder a heavy responsibility in the next few days. The sending of the letter must not be delayed.
19. The CHAIRMAN, noting that at the present time only the French version was available, asked whether the Committee wished to wait until the text was translated into the other languages.
20. Mr. KORNEYENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) noted that delegations were finding it very difficult to work with a text with which they were familiar only through the interpretation. He therefore supported the proposal by the Observer for the PLO that photocopies of the French text of the letter, which was available, should be circulated to members so that they could propose amendments without too much loss of time. A time-limit, such as 3 p.m. on that same day, could be set for the submission of amendments.
21. The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Committee should adopt the procedure suggested by the Ukrainian representative.
22. It was so decided.
23. Mr. GEORGESCU (Romania) thanked the Chairman for his initiative. The
Romanian Government, being fully aware of the tragic events occurring in Lebanon and of the urgent nature of the situation in the entire Middle East, felt that it was imperative for all Member States to redouble their efforts to arrive at an over-all settlement of the entire Middle East conflict and, in particular, a solution to the problem of the Palestinians and their inalienable rights.
24. His country felt that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could be achieved only through political negotiations leading to Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, recognition of the legitimate aspirations and interests of the Palestinian people, including its right to set up its own State, and guarantees of the integrity, independence and sovereignty of all States in the region.
25. His delegation agreed with the Observer for the PLO that the Committee's letter to the President of the Security Council should be sent without delay. However, a question arose concerning the amendments which would have to be submitted by 3 p.m.; although his delegation of course deferred to the judgement of the Chairman, it felt that the latter's initiative should receive full endorsement before the end of the present meeting.
26. The CHAIRMAN said that the letter would be sent only if no substantive amendment was submitted by 3 p.m. If such amendments were submitted, he would of course consult their authors and, if necessary, convene a meeting of the Committee in order to present the amendments to it.
27. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said that there was little time to lose, since it would be advisable for the Secretary-General to receive the Committee's letter before reporting to the Security Council within 24 hours, as requested, on the implementation of Council resolution 425 (1978).
28. He was astonished at the terms used by the Romanian representative in his statement. What was involved was not the "aspirations" and "interests" of the Palestinian people but quite simply their rights.
29. Mr. GEORGESCU (Romania) said that that misunderstanding had resulted from his imperfect knowledge of English. He had referred to aspirations and interests but had also stressed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
30. Mr. DUBEY (India) said that he did not intend to make a statement on the
substance of the matter since his delegation had already set forth its position in the Security Council. He would, however, like to have the English version of the draft letter.
31. The CHAIRMAN said that a provisional English translation would be circulated by the end of the morning.
32. It was decided to suspend the meeting so that members of the Committee could study the draft letter.
33. The meeting was suspended at 12.20 p.m. and resumed at 12.45 p.m.
34. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the draft of the letter should be examined
paragraph by paragraph.
First and second paragraphs
35. It was proposed that the order of the first two paragraphs should be reversed. The first paragraph would then begin with the words "The tragedy which has once again fallen on …" and the second would begin "Consequently, I am authorized …".
36. The amendment was adopted.
37. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the words "a central element" at the end of the first sentence should be replaced by "the central element".
38. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) proposed that the words "As we have repeatedly affirmed" in the second sentence should be replaced by "As the General Assembly has repeatedly affirmed".
39. Mr. KOUYATE (Guinea) proposed that in the last line but one of the third paragraph the words "legitimate rights and aspirations" should be amended to read "inalienable rights and legitimate aspirations".
40. The amendments to the third paragraph were adopted.
41. Mr. KOUYATE (Guinea) proposed that the phrase "from establishing a country of their own where they can return" should be replaced by "from recovering their Palestinian homeland", in order to stress the fact that the Palestinian people had been deprived of their rights and driven out of their homeland, which should be restored to them.
42. Mr. SY (Senegal) proposed that the phrase in question should read "from establishing a homeland in Palestine where they can …".
43. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia), referring to the proposal of Guinea, suggested the following wording: "they have been prevented hitherto from recovering their Palestinian homeland and from living in peace there with their neighbours". He also proposed that the words", according to Israeli leaders themselves," should be inserted between the words "the Israeli attack" and "was aimed …".
44. Mrs. HYDER (Pakistan) proposed that after the words "because they have been" the words "driven out of their homeland and" should be inserted.
45. The CHAIRMAN said that the Secretariat would try to improve the wording of the paragraph somewhat in order to avoid, in particular, the repetition of the word "homeland".
46. The amendments to the fourth paragraph were adopted.
47. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the word "well" before the word "know" should be deleted.
48. The amendment to the fifth paragraph was adopted.
49. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) proposed that the words "as long as firm steps will not have been taken" should be replaced by the words "until energetic measures have been taken" and that the word "including" in the last line but one should be replaced by the words "and above all".
50. The amendments to the sixth paragraph were adopted.
51. Mr. ABDALLAH (Tunisia) proposed that in the French text of the letter the adverb "toujours" in the last line of the paragraph should be replaced by "encore".
52. The amendment to the seventh paragraph was adopted.
53. The CHAIRMAN said that it had also been proposed that an eighth paragraph should be added which would read: "The Committee condemns the Israeli aggression which is under way in Lebanon and calls for its immediate cessation."
54. The amendment adding an eighth paragraph was adopted.
55. The CHAIRMAN said that the text of the letter, as amended, would be sent on that same day to the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General after any necessary drafting changes had been made.
PARTICIPATION OF THE COMMITTEE IN THE WORLD CONFERENCE TO COMBAT RACISM AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
56. The CHAIRMAN informed the members of the Committee that he had received a letter from the Secretary-General inviting the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to participate as an observer in the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination which was to be held at Geneva from 14 to 25 August 1978. The decision to convene that Conference, which would be a part of the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, had been taken by the General Assembly at its thirty-second session.
57. Under the provisional rules of procedure of the Conference, representatives of United Nations organs invited to the Conference could participate, as observers, without the right to vote, in the deliberations of the Conference, its committees, and, as appropriate, the working groups thereof, on questions within the scope of their activities.
58. The main theme of the Conference was the adoption of concrete measures for securing the full and universal implementation of United Nations decisions and resolutions on racism, racial discrimination, apartheid, decolonization and self-determination, as well as accession to the international instruments relating to human rights and the elimination of racism and racial discrimination and ratification and enforcement of those instruments. The Secretary-General asked the Committee to communicate to the Secretary-General of the Conference as quickly as possible the names of the members who would represent the Committee at the Conference.
59. He would ask the Working Group which was to act as a liaison committee to
submit proposals on that subject.
The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.