Statement made by the representative of Pakistan at the ninth meeting of the Committee on 30 March 1976*
It cannot be denied that the issue of Palestine lies at the root of the conflict in the Middle East. This recognition, in the words of the Prime Minister Pakistan, Mr. Bhutto, "has been earned by the heroic sons and daughters of Palestine through their suffering, their fortitude and the constancy of their commitment". Prime Minister Bhutto uttered those words during the Islamic Summit in February 1974.
We in Pakistan remain firm in our belief that a gross injustice was done without any consultation of the people of the territory and, in fact, in spite of their opposition, it was decided to install people from outside, most of very recent immigrants, in Palestine and to create a separate State for them has led to three wars and countless bloody encounters and has caused a disastrous arms race, with the threat of even a nuclear holocaust in that area, area has become a cockpit for the clash of various interests and the continued turmoil there threatens the peace of that region, indeed, it threatens the peace of the world.
During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Bhutto declared: "The present state of no war no peace in the Middle East is a precarious one … Time is not in favour of peace. It is certainly not in favour of Israel. At the same time, all the signs and portents indicate that the moment has come to find a solution on the basis of Israel's withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories including Jerusalem, which also takes into account the national aspirations of the Palestinian people".
We thus share the view that the issue of Palestine lies at the root of the conflict in the Middle East and the essence of that issue is the restoration and exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. These rights are: the rights to self-determination, national entity independence and sovereignty in their homeland as well as the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property.
The people of Pakistan have ties of brotherhood, faith and history with the Arab people of the Middle East, including the people of Palestine. Since our inception, we have held dear to our hearts the cause of the Palestinian people. The gross injustice inflicted on the people of Palestine, occupation of their homeland, their expulsion from their hearths and homes and the misery and humiliation in which our Palestinian brothers and sisters have lived for almost three decades have been a cause of deep concern and a source of grief and sorrow to the people of Pakistan. However, our support for the just cause of the Palestinians and our continuing concern for the restoration of their inalienable rights is motivated not only by our close ties with them but, and equally important, by the fact that the Palestinians are a suppressed and oppressed people and theirs is a just cause. Our support is on principles — principles which Pakistan holds dear — of self-determination for and observance of the United Nations Charter and its resolutions and the rejection of force and intimidation.
The Second Islamic Summit, held in Pakistan in February 1974, in its Declaration of Lahore, said, inter alia that
"The cause of the people of Palestine is the cause of all those who believe in the right of a people to determine its own destiny by itself and by its free will" and that ':the restoration of the full national rights of the Palestinian people in their homeland is the essential and fundamental condition for a solution to the Middle East problem and the establishment of lasting peace on the basis of justice. The Declaration of Lahore — a historic Declaration indeed — also made it clear that
"The present trends towards a just peace cannot but concentrate on the roots of the question and disengagement cannot be viewed but as a step towards the complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territories and the full restoration of the national rights of the Palestinian people.
It was at the Lahore Summit that the Palestine Liberation Organization was accorded for the first time full recognition as the representative of the people of Palestine.
It is heartening to see that in the past two years the stand taken by the Islamic countries at Lahore in February 1974 has become a generally accepted basis for the solution of the Palestine problem in the United Nations itself. Indeed, the same year — 1974 — the General Assembly, in accordance with its historic resolution 2535 B (XXIV) of 10 December 1969, which had reaffirmed ::the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine", as well as its subsequent resolutions, elaborated the inalienable rights of the Palestinian peoples to self-determination without external interference and to national independence and .sovereignty. Further., in resolution 3236 (XXIX) the General Assembly also reaffirmed as an inalienable right the "right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted"} and called for their return.
By its resolution 3376 (XXX) last year, the General Assembly established this Committee to consider and recommend to the General Assembly a programme of implementation of the right of the Palestinian people, taking into account all the powers conferred by the Charter upon the principal organs of the United Nations.
The Palestine Liberation Organization — as is generally recognized — is the representative of the Palestinian people. This fact has been recognized by the United Nations in particular and the international community in general. The PLO, being fully cognizant of the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinians, is obviously in the best position to explain to us the modalities for the exercise of their inalienable rights by the Palestinians. We fully endorse the view of the representative of the PLO, which he expressed in his intervention in this Committee on 9 March, that
"the exercise of the individual right of the Palestinian to return to his homeland is a condition sine qua non to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty." (A/AC.183/2, p. 3)
We also endorse the suggestion of the representative of the PLO that the first phase of the implementation of the right to return of the Palestinians should consist of the return of the Palestinians displaced from the territories occupied since June 1967.. We support this proposal since we share the view that this priority is one of time only and that this return should not await any political or territorial arrangements.
Further, we agree that Israel should desist from the establishment of new settlements in the occupied territories and that re should effectively prevent its citizens from creating the so-called unauthorized settlements 5 also Israel lid withdraw its citizens from such establishments. We hold the view at the same time that the Fourth Geneva Convention should be applied in the occupied territories and that, simultaneously, action should be taken to prepare for the return of the Palestinians displaced in 1948. For that purpose an agency designated and created. Also a fund should be established to their return.
We are heartened to see that, after the most regrettable denial of their basic rights to the Palestinian people in 1948 and their untold sufferings since then, the conscience of the international community has indeed awakened on this issue with the passage of time. It is encouraging to see that the world at large has become increasingly aware of the existence of the Palestinians as an entity and that the world community has so clearly pronounced itself in their favour, in favour of their rights, in General Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) and 3376 (XXX) during the twenty-ninth and thirtieth sessions. Also, in January last, the Security Council had before it a draft resolution, presented by six countries including Pakistan, which would affirm that the Palestinian people should be enabled to exercise their inalienable right of self-determination, including the right to establish an independent State in Palestine, as well as the right of the refugees to return to their homes and property. That draft resolution would also reaffirm that Israel should withdraw from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967. As declared by the Syrian representative, in his statement in this Committee on 17 March 1976, that draft resolution contained, as he put it, "the most supported basis for a peaceful and just settlement in the Middle East". A/AC.183/L.8, p. 13 However, as is known, it could not be adopted since it was vetoed. The important fact is that that draft resolution did indeed reflect the views of the international community as a whole on the question of the Palestinian rights and we are certain that, the existence of the veto notwithstanding, the rights of the Palestinians will continue to be upheld by the world at large.
It is, therefore, our view that we should not be inhibited in forwarding our recommendations to the Security Council by considerations of expediency or fears of a veto. On the other hand, we should solicit and consolidate support for our suggested programme for the implementation of the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine, as it is formulated, among Members of the United Nations. Keeping this consideration in mind, we would venture to suggest that informal contacts should be established and maintained with the representatives of the States which are not members of this Committee, and which we consider capable of playing a positive role on this issue both in the Security Council and subsequently in the General Assembly. The sole purpose of this exercise will be to formulate our recommendations — naturally without any compromise whatsoever on principles: I repeat, without any compromise on principles — in such a way that we are able to obtain general support for them both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. I do not think that I have to elaborate on this suggestion any further.
Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee.
Document Type: Statement
Document Sources: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), General Assembly, Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (SUPR) (See also - CEIRPP > DPR)
Subject: History, Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Middle East situation, Palestine question
Publication Date: 30/03/1976