COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE
RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 63rd MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 11 March 1981, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Election of officers
Establishment of the Working Group
Programme of work
Report by the Acting Chairman on his missions to Taif, Saudi Arabia, to attend the Third Islamic Summit and to New Delhi, India, to attend the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries 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 11.15 a.m.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
1. The CHAIRMAN said that consultations on the election of the Bureau were still being pursued and that he would inform the Committee of the results of those consultations the following week.
2. Mr. SREENIVASAN (India) said that while his delegation was not opposed to the holding of consultations, it still maintained the proposal it had made at the 62nd meeting, namely, that the same countries as had been represented on the Bureau previously should be represented on the Bureau for 1981. He hoped that the entire Committee would support that proposal.
3. Mr. AHMAD (Pakistan) said his delegation believed that there was no substitute for sincere consultations, and its proposal made at the 62nd meeting, based on certain principles, still stood. His delegation was firmly committed to the cause of the Palestinian people and would do its utmost to ensure that that people's rights were restored. It hoped that no one would endeavour to undermine the efforts of the Committee in that regard.
4. Mr. SOURINHO (Lao People's Democratic Republic) said his delegation believed that the Indian proposal was worth while, and it therefore hoped that the Committee would renew the mandate of the entire Bureau.
5. Mr. SOMOGYI (Hungary) reaffirmed his delegation's support for the Indian proposal to re-elect the entire Bureau.
6. Mr. KABA (Guinea) said that his delegation was prepared to support the Chairman in his efforts for consultations on the election of officers.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WORKING GROUP
7. The CHAIRMAN said it was his understanding that the Committee wished to continue its earlier practice and re-elect to the Working Group the members of the Bureau and the representatives of the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Guyana, India, Tunisia and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
8. It was so decided.
PROGRAMME OF WORK
9. The CHAIRMAN said that the following week the Rapporteur would establish a date for convening the Working Group to discuss the programme of work for 1981.
REPORT BY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN ON HIS MISSIONS TO TAIF, SAUDI ARABIA, TO ATTEND THE THIRD ISLAMIC SUMMIT AND TO NEW DELHI, INDIA, TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES
10. The CHAIRMAN said that in his capacity as Acting Chairman, he had had the honour of representing the Committee at the summit meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference held in January at Taif. For the first time in the history of that organization, a plan of action to counter Israeli action in Palestine had been adopted. Its purpose was to strengthen the struggle of the Palestinian people with a view to recovering its rights and freedom under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. That plan, inter alia, affirmed the undertaking of the Islamic States to use all means at their disposal to consolidate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, invited the United States to change its attitude on the question of Palestine, decided to focus its activities on United States public opinion in order to explain that question, invited member States of the European Economic Community to attempt to understand better the problem of Palestine and decided to use all the economic potential and the natural resources of the Islamic States to induce Israel and other States to take a more realistic approach to the Palestinian people.
11. The Conference had also adopted a resolution on Palestine and the Middle East which, inter alia, affirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could be achieved only if the problem of Palestine, the core of the Middle East crisis, was examined in all its components.
12. The Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries had also given special attention to the question of Palestine and the Middle East. All of the 120 delegations that had spoken had affirmed that the question of Palestine constituted the very heart of the problem of the Middle East and that any just and lasting settlement should first of all take into consideration the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, its sole and legitimate representative. The Conference also welcomed the action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and invited the Security Council to implement the recommendations of the Committee which had been adopted by the General Assembly.
13. It was thus clear that the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people had received favourable and unfailing support at those two important Conferences, which had adopted resolutions with a view to achieving peace and stability in the region and the establishment of a new world based on justice, brotherhood and mutual understanding.
14. Mr. SCHRÖTER (German Democratic Republic) recommended that the resolutions on the Middle East and Palestine adopted by the two Conferences should be reproduced and distributed to members of the Committee.
15. The CHAIRMAN said the Secretariat would have the documents circulated.
16. Mr. SREENIVASAN (India) said that the Final Declaration of the non-aligned meeting held at New Delhi had already been sent to the Secretariat and would be available to all delegations in a few days.
17. Mr. GAUCHI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that members of the Committee should feel encouraged because its work was being widely supported, as could be seen from the decisions taken at the Islamic Conference and the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries. It was important to ensure that good liaison with those two bodies was maintained in the future, so that their proposals might be included in the Committee's report. The next few months would be crucial for the Palestinian people, and therefore for the Committee's work, thus; it was important that the Working Group should meet soon in order to prepare solid plans for the months ahead. The Committee should remind all States Members of the United Nations that it welcomed their co-operation. In other words, the Committee should seek to broaden the base of its support, and, in that connexion, perhaps the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights should analyse more thoroughly the results of the vote on the question of Palestine at the thirty-fifth session of the the interests of the large population in the occupied territories which has yet been given the opportunity of exercising the right of self-determination General Assembly. From the statements made at that time, it was apparent that many delegations were not unaware of the issue and might be in a position to support the Palestinian cause. In addition, constant liaison with members of the Security Council should be maintained, since the recommendations of the Committee had to be adopted by the Council before they could be implemented.
18. Lastly, the Committee, in co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, might wish to consider whether some items on the Middle East and Palestine in the agenda of the General Assembly might be consolidated into one item for discussion at the highest level, that is to say, in plenary meeting.
19. The CHAIRMAN said that in the light of the Taif and New Delhi meetings, he endorsed the very relevant and useful views put forward by the Rapporteur.
20. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Chairman had played a militant role in the drafting group at the New Delhi meeting, and it was therefore no accident that the resolution adopted there gave unconditional support to the work of the Committee and the cause of the
Palestinian people. The Taif meeting had demonstrated that the fate of the Palestinians was still the central issue in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East, despite the efforts of some to suggest that the Palestine issue was merely peripheral.
21. The statement made by President Brezhnev at the twenty-sixth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was highly appreciated because the Soviet Union's position on the Palestinian issue included action-oriented suggestions for obtaining peace. President Brezhnev had consistently supported the substantive work done by the Committee. The Palestine Liberation Organization wished to express its deep gratitude for the commitment of all members of the Committee to the Palestine cause and for the active role played by the Bureau in that regard.
22. With respect to the point made by the Rapporteur, the Security Council currently had before it two issues relating to Palestine: (a) follow-up to the work of the Commission established in pursuance of Security Council resolution 446 (1979); and (b) follow-up to the recent General Assembly resolution on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The suggestion that the Committee or its Working Group should maintain close liaison with members of the Security Council was most welcome because he believed that increased dialogue with those members would bring increased support for the work of the Committee.
23. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) recalled that following the two successful seminars held in 1980, the General Assembly had agreed to the holding of two others during 1981, one in Latin America and the other in Asia. He requested information on preparations for those seminars.
Most of the participants, having university affiliations, could attend only during July and August and would need advance notice in order to make plans.
24. There had recently been much talk of the elections to be held in Israel in June and of the expectation that the Begin Government would be replaced, thereby creating more favourable circumstances for the recognition of Palestinian rights. That was an illusion; it had been a Labour Government that had occupied the territories and had begun the establishment of settlements. The Drobless plan, discussed by the Committee in 1980, was the basic policy of whatever party was in power in Tel Aviv. He had that morning given to the Chief of the Special Unit a copy of the political programme of the Labour Party and requested that it should be circulated to the members of the Committee in order to prepare them for what was to be expected from a Labour Government.
25. There had been further moves in the occupied territories to requisition land. He expressed his appreciation for the action taken by the Special Unit and by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee in sending a letter to the Security Council calling attention to that fact. The Jerusalem Post of 7 March had indicated that a move to acquire as much territory as possible was under way. Begin had announced that between now and the end of June he would increase Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories by 40 per cent.
26. He thanked the Special Unit for its very useful study, The Palestine Question: A Brief History, which had been produced for schools. Many schools had requested additional copies, and the opinion had been expressed that the study was one of the most effective publications ever produced for inculcating in American students a different and more realistic understanding of the Palestine issue. He hoped that the Special Unit would concentrate its efforts on issuing such material.
27. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Special Unit on Palestinian Rights) said that, with reference to the request made by the representative of the German Democratic Republic, the documents of the two Conferences in question would be published by the bodies concerned in the near future. Those parts of the documents directly relevant to the work of the Committee would be included in the Bulletin of the Special Unit for March.
28. The Committee had received an invitation from the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization to attend the thirteenth session of its Council, to be held at Aden from 20 to 26 March 1981. Little time remained, and he requested suggestions on representation of the Committee.
29. With reference to the question raised by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization, he said that the Asian seminar would be held at Colombo in August 1981, probably between 10 and 14 August, although a final decision on the dates had not yet been made. A list of experts to be invited was being drawn up and would be before the Working Group at its next meeting. It was hoped that the Latin American seminar would take place during the second week of July, but the venue had yet to be decided. The representative of Guyana had been approached on that matter, but a final reply had not been received.
30. Mr. SCHRÖTER (German Democratic Republic), recalling that the observer for the PLO had mentioned the report of President Brezhnev to the twenty-sixth Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, proposed that the relevant sections of that report should also be included in the Special Unit's Bulletin.
31. The CHAIRMAN said that he had taken note of the statements made on the question of the re-election of the Bureau, particularly those made by the representatives of India and Pakistan. The work of the Committee was inspired by the Palestinian cause; all were aware of the Committee's role in promoting a better understanding of the issues and in working towards a solution.
The meeting rose at 12.05 p.m.