COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 69th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 14 September 1981, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Adoption of the agenda
Reports by the Chairman on visits of the Committee's delegations
Consideration of the draft report of the Committee
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.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
1. The agenda was adopted.
REPORTS BY THE CHAIRMAN ON VISITS OF THE COMMITTEE'S DELEGATIONS
2. The CHAIRMAN said that he had hoped to be in a position to present, at the current meeting, the Committee's report on the mission sent to Beirut at the invitation of Mr. Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Unfortunately, for technical reasons, that would not be possible. The report would, however, be issued in the very near future and, as soon as it was approved by the members of the delegation which had visited Beirut, it would be published as a working paper of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
3. The Committee's delegation which had visited Moscow at the invitation of the Soviet Committee of Solidarity with the countries of Asia and Africa had met with Mr. Vladimir Kudriatsov, First Chairman of the Soviet Committee and member of the Soviet Supreme Council, to discuss ways and means of increasing the co-operation between the Soviet Committee and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Particular attention had been paid to the assistance that the Soviet Committee could give the latter in discharging its mandate. The First Chairman of the Soviet Committee had assured the delegation of his Committee's willingness to co-operate and to strengthen the already close contacts between the two Committees.
4. The delegation had also met with Ambassador Vladimir Petrovski, Chief of the Department of International Organizations at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and had discussed the question of Palestine and the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Ambassador Petrovski had reiterated his Government's position on the question, which was based on principles similar to those which guided the work of the Committee.
5. The delegation had also been received by Mr. Yuri Barabash, Chief of the Soviet-Palestinian Friendship Society and First Deputy Minister of Culture. The delegation had viewed a film entitled "The Near East: Pain, Anxiety and Hope".
6. From Moscow the delegation had proceeded to Colombo to participate in the third United Nations seminar on Palestinian rights. It had then proceeded to Beirut and Havana, where, as everywhere else on the trip, it had been warmly received. The seminars held at Colombo and Havana had been extremely successful and the relevant documents would be published in the near future as working papers of the Committee.
7. He thanked the Governments of Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Cuba, the Soviet Committee and the PLO Executive Committee for their hospitality and for their efforts on behalf of the delegations.
CONSIDERATION OF THE DRAFT REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
8. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the draft report had been distributed in all the languages on 18 August 1981. After it had been discussed by the Working Group on 11 September 1981, new paragraphs had been added. He suggested that the Committee should first consider the original draft report and then move on to the draft with the recently inserted paragraphs, which was not yet available in all the languages.
9. Mr. MOUSSA (Observer for Egypt) said that, as his country was a party to the conflict in the Middle East, it wished to consider the draft report as carefully as possible. Since the new draft report was not yet available in all the languages, he proposed that consideration of the document should be postponed in order to give all delegations the necessary time to devote to it the attention it deserved.
10. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee was already late in submitting its report, which should have been made available to the Secretary-General at the beginning of September 1981. The first draft report had been distributed in all the languages on 18 August 1981 and the additional paragraphs had been inserted at a meeting of the Working Group on 11 September 1981, in which the Egyptian delegation had taken part. He appealed for co-operation on the part of all members of the Committee to expedite the adoption of the report.
11. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) expressed his regret that the part of the draft report entitled "Action taken by other organizations" made no reference to the eleventh Arab summit conference held at Amman on 25 November 1980, during which a strategy had been elaborated for confronting the Zionist danger up to the year 2000. That conference had been attended by 16 heads of State and Government and its sole aim had been to work out means of restoring the rights of the Palestinian people. The proclamation issued at the end of the conference had stated, for the first time, that participants considered Security Council resolution 242 (1967) to be inadequate for the restoration of Palestinian rights. That proclamation represented an important turning-point in the evolution of the conceptual framework for the solution of the Palestinian problem. To ignore a conference in which so many heads of State and Government had taken part and which had broken new ground in the struggle to guarantee the Palestinians their rights would be to insult the participants. He hoped that an appropriate amendment to the report would be made so that the General Assembly would have a full record of developments over the past year with regard to Palestinian rights.
12. The CHAIRMAN said that it was not the intention of the Committee to insult anyone. Indeed, it had the utmost respect for all heads of State and Government, including the Arab heads of State and Government dealing with the question of Palestinian rights. However, the Committee had prepared its draft report on the basis of, first, its activities during the calendar year 1981 and, secondly, the activities of other bodies in which it had taken part. He stressed that there was no intention to minimize the outcome of the eleventh Arab summit conference held at Amman and that the Committee would take note of the proposal made by the observer for Jordan.
13. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that, as the Committee's report was intended to cover the period from September 1980 to September 1981, it should mention the Amman summit meeting and the Conference of Arab Ministers of Economic Affairs, both held in November 1980.
14. The CHAIRMAN said that the remarks made by the observer for Jordan would be noted. He invited the Committee to consider the draft report paragraph by
Paragraphs 1 to 15
15. Paragraphs 1 to 15 were adopted.
16. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the second sentence referred to the death of "several" Palestinian civilians. It would be more accurate to say "several hundred".
17. The CHAIRMAN said that the sentence was taken from the letter circulated as document A/36/237-S/14477, in which the word "several" had been used.
18. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that the representative of the Ukrainian SSR had made an extremely important point, since "several" could mean "a few". A better word would be "numerous". There was universal agreement that several hundred Palestinian civilians had been killed and more than 1,000 wounded. The sentence should read: "… the death of numerous Palestinian and Lebanese civilians".
19. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that, in the interest of accuracy, the paragraphs which referred to correspondence consistently followed the wording of the original correspondence. The word "several" implied a significant number.
20. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said it was a fact that the Zionist acts of aggression had caused over 1,600 casualties, including those killed and those injured. That fact should be reflected in the report. Reference had to be made to those who had been maimed for life.
21. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the following sentence could be added at the end of the paragraph: "The extent of the damage and loss of life is reflected in the report of the visiting mission from the Committee." That would make it possible to retain the language of the original letter and, at the same time, highlight the fact that subsequent investigation had revealed the full extent of the damage and loss of life. Further reference was made to such damage and loss of life in paragraphs 18 and 19.
22. The CHAIRMAN said he hoped that the Committee could accept the Rapporteur's suggestion. As indicated in paragraph 18, the report of the Committee's delegation was annexed to the draft report under consideration.
23. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the word "several" meant "a few" and belittled the extent of the damage. It would be better to amend the sentence to read: "… had caused extensive death and injury among Palestinian civilians". He could agree to the addition of the sentence suggested by the Rapporteur.
24. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, suggested that the sentence to be added at the end of the paragraph should read: "The extent of the damage and loss of life was subsequently determined more accurately by the visiting mission to Beirut and is reflected in its report." Paragraph 16 would thus follow the correct sequence of events and make it clear that the original letter could not have taken into account all the factors subsequently brought to light.
25. Mr. HAMMAD (Observer for the United Arab Emirates) agreed with the Rapporteur's suggestion. The new sentence should be in a foot-note to the word "several".
26. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that the sentence, if consigned to a foot-note, could fail to have the desired effect on the reader. Throughout the world, the mass media had emphasized the extent of the casualties. A sentence along the lines of the one suggested by the Rapporteur should be enclosed in brackets in paragraph 16 itself.
27. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Committee should follow its past practice of quoting accurately from the text of the original letters. It would be better to have the sentence he had suggested inserted in the paragraph itself, without brackets.
28. The CHAIRMAN said that the letter dated 8 May 1981 circulated as document
A/36/237-S/14477 obviously did not refer to the attacks of July 1981, which were dealt with in paragraphs 18 and 19. For the sake of clarity, the date of the letter referred to in paragraph 16 would be inserted in the paragraph.
29. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the first
sentence of paragraph 16 should make it clear that the acts committed by Israel in Lebanon had been acts of aggression.
30. The CHAIRMAN said that the Rapporteur would take that comment into account and also add the suggested sentence.
31. Paragraph 16, as amended, was adopted.
32. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the first sentence of paragraph 17 should be amended to make it clear that the Arab funds in question were intended to assist the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
33. The CHAIRMAN said that the text would be amended accordingly.
34. Paragraph 17, as amended, was adopted.
Paragraphs 18 to 21
35. Paragraphs 18 to 21 were adopted.
Paragraphs 22 and 23
36. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, suggested that paragraphs 22 and 23 should be merged. The words following "the Middle East question" would be deleted. The first sentence of paragraph 22 would thus read: "In reviewing events which have taken place on the Middle East question, the Committee deems it necessary to stress …". Paragraph 22 would end with the sentence "Both that resolution and General Assembly resolution 35/169 B … the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967". Paragraph 23 would begin: "The Committee noted that in spite of this strong opposition, attempts were still being made to proceed with negotiations …".
37. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that it was important to retain the original text of paragraph 22 because of the substantive elements it contained. The reference to the Committee's phased recommendations, which the General Assembly had repeatedly endorsed, was essential.
38. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, pointed out that those substantive elements were contained in paragraph 42 of the report.
39. Mr. MOUSSA (Observer for Egypt) said that paragraphs 22 and 23 referred to resolutions against which his delegation, like many other delegations, had voted. To stress the point made in the first part of the new paragraph 22 was to attempt to impose a straight-jacket on international efforts to attain progress on the question of Palestine. Egypt believed that it was entitled to pursue the course it considered necessary under the circumstances and, at the same time, pursue the common goal of ultimately enabling the Palestinian people to secure their rights. His delegation had strong reservations concerning the new paragraph 22.
40. It had similar reservations concerning the language and content of the new paragraph 23. The necessary negotiations, efforts and contacts should be continued and encouraged, provided that the Palestinian people and their legitimate representatives had the right to accept or reject any decisions reached. The ultimate goal of his Government was to assist the Palestinian people, not to speak on their behalf.
41. Paragraphs 22 and 23, as amended, were adopted.
42. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that it would be useful to add at the end of paragraph 24 the following words: "to the Middle East situation and the plight of the Palestinian people".
43. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) suggested that the words "the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people" should also be inserted.
44. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, agreed to that suggestion.
45. Paragraph 24, as amended, was adopted.
46. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that paragraph 25 did not fully correspond to the proposal made by President Brezhnev. The paragraphn should be amended to read: "… Communist Party of the Soviet Union, contained the proposal to go back to an honest collective search for an all-embracing, just and realistic settlement of the question of the Middle East. This could be done in the framework of a specially convened international conference with the participation of all interested parties, naturally including the Palestine Liberation Organization".
47. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, accepted the suggestion.
48. Paragraph 25, as amended, was adopted.
Paragraphs 26 to 28
49. Paragraphs 26 to 28 were adopted.
50. Mr. MOUSSA (Observer for Egypt) said that his country had not participated in the Third Islamic Conference Summit and that it could not support the language of the resolutions adopted at that meeting referred to in subparagraph (a). His delegation therefore had strong reservations regarding the inclusion of that subparagraph in the Committee's report. It had similar reservations with regard to subparagraph (d).
51. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that, while every country had the
right to disagree with a position adopted by a body or conference, it was not
entitled to censor the Committee's report. The Third Islamic Conference Summit had been attended by the representatives of some 40 States and the Rapporteur had quite rightly included in the Committee's report an account of the positions adopted at that meeting.
52. Mr. BENLAMHIDI (Observer for Morocco) observed that the draft report contained no reference to the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee, which had met twice in 1981.
53. The CHAIRMAN said that the Rapporteur would rectify that omission.
54. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he was amazed by the statement made by the Observer for Egypt. As to the Egyptian delegation's reservation concerning subparagraph (d), he recalled that it was the position of the Committee that the PLO was the sole authentic representative of the Palestinian people.
55. The CHAIRMAN asked members to bear in mind that paragraph 29 was intended merely as an account of the deliberations of other organizations concerning the question of Palestine and that it did not necessarily reflect the Committee's own viewpoint.
56. Paragraph 29 was adopted.
57. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) welcomed the clarification provided by the Chairman. His delegation considered that, in adopting subparagraphs (a) and (e), the Committee had made no value judgement with regard to the substance to the positions summarized therein.
Paragraphs 30 to 42
58. Paragraphs 30 to 42 were adopted.
59. Mr. FAREED (Pakistan) proposed that the word "territory" in the last line of subparagraph (d) should be made plural and that the words "including the Holy City of Jerusalem" should be added at the end of the sentence.
60. It was so decided.
61. Mr. MOUSSA (Observer for Egypt) said that the Committee's recommendation should be expanded to cover the questions of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and Israel's plans to build a canal linking the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea and passing through the occupied Gaza strip. Since action taken during the year by Israel on all three matters had a crucial bearing on the prospects for attaining the Committee's objective, he suggested that a new paragraph might be added to the draft report calling upon the General Assembly to address itself to the three matters at its forthcoming session.
62. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) endorsed the proposals made by the representative of Pakistan and the Observer for Egypt. Self-determination and a homeland for the Palestinian people would become an impossibility if Israeli colonization continued apace. That fact had been recognized by even the New York Times, which had that very day referred to the matter in an editorial.
63. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that he would, in consultation with interested delegations, draft a new paragraph to reflect the three issues referred to by the Observer for Egypt.
64. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that the words "independence and national sovereignty" in subparagraph (b) should be replaced by the words "and to establish their own independent State".
65. The CHAIRMAN observed that the idea which the Observer of the PLO wished to see introduced in subparagraph (b) of paragraph 43 was already covered in paragraph 44.
66. Mr. RAHMAN (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that it would be preferable, for the sake of consistency, to bring the wording of subparagraph (b) of paragraph 43 into line with that of paragraph 44.
67. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that paragraph 43 was based almost word for word on a previous report of the General Assembly. It would be best, therefore, not to alter the wording.
68. Paragraph 43, as amended, was adopted.
Paragraphs 44 to 46
69. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Observer for Jordan) said that there was no mention in the report of the danger posed by Israeli excavation work to two of the most sacred sites of Islam – Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock – and the continuing exile of the mayors of Hebron and Halhoul, despite the call by the Security Council for their repatriation. Those two important developments should be referred to in the Committee's report to the General Assembly.
70. The CHAIRMAN said that he intended shortly to send a letter on behalf of the Committee to the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly on the subject of the Israeli archaeological diggings in Jerusalem. The Rapporteur could then draft a new paragraph for inclusion in the report which would refer to the sending of the letter and quote from its contents. A reference would also be included to the situation of the two exiled Arab mayors.
71. Mr. HAMMAD (Observer for the United Arab Emirates) said that United Nations resolutions expressly referred to two categories of Palestinian refugees, namely those who had been displaced in 1947 and those displaced by the 1967 war. However, there was a third category – residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and who between 1948 and 1967 had left for other countries in search of education or employment and who, as a result of the 1967 war, had not been allowed to return. The Committee should spell out clearly in its report that the right of return applied to all categories of refugees so as to avoid all ambiguity.
72. The CHAIRMAN observed that it was generally understood that the right of return applied to all Palestinian refugees, irrespective of the circumstances of their leaving. However, it would be possible to include a sentence in the paragraph relating to the two Arab mayors to reflect the concerns expressed by the Observer for the United Arab Emirates.
73. Paragraphs 44 to 46 were adopted.
74. The draft report, as a whole, as amended, was adopted.
75. The CHAIRMAN said that he had received a letter dated 2 September 1981 from the Permanent Representative of Malaysia, informing him of the Malaysian Government's decision to raise the PLO representation in Kuala Lumpur to the status of an embassy. A joint communiqué issued by the Malaysian Government and the PLO on 21 August 1981, together with the letter of the Permanent Representative of Malaysia, would be circulated to members for information.
The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.