Statement made by the representative of Jordan at the eighth meeting of the Committee on IT March 1976*
This Committee is entrusted with a task that is at once very simple and complex. This- is so because this is the nature of the Palestine question, is at once very simple and very complex. It is simple because Palestinian rights are clear and distinct, and Palestinian claims just and achievable. It is complex because of the circumstances surrounding these rights, and the layers of suppression and misunderstanding imposed on them over the years.
The task of this Committee is likewise simple because its mandate is defined and its purpose clear. The mandate, as defined in resolution 3376 (XXX), is: to consider and recommend to the General Assembly a programme of implementation, designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise the rights recognized in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX)".
Resolution 3236 (XXIX) defines these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as, first, self-determination; secondly, national independence and sovereignty; and thirdly, the right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.
But this task of the Committee is difficult and complex, because of the objective circumstances of the Palestinian problem. The Palestinian people are prevented from exercising these inalienable rights by a ruthless and aggressive force which stands violently against these rights and has strong and extended roots in some of the most powerful nations of the world through which it derives strength and continuous capability for intransigence.
No reasonable individual or nation can argue against Palestinian rights or defend the gross injustice which was inflicted upon the Palestinian people. How can anyone deny the justice and the claim for redress by a people which had lived peacefully and prosperously in their ancestral homeland only to find themselves overnight expelled from this homeland, massively and violently by a ruthless and superior force of invaders? How can anyone fail to see the horrible injustice inflicted upon this people? How can anyone fail to understand and support the just claim of that people for repatriation to its homeland, for the reacquisition of its property and for national restoration of its own homeland? This is elemental justice. It is also the logic of an ultimately inevitable corrective process of history.
Yet the successful achievement of justice for the Palestinian people has, during the last three decades, been an elusive goal. Year after year has passe< as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians continued to subsist in exile outside their homeland, struggling to survive and to continue to maintain faith and hope while Israel stood, arrogantly and defiantly, on the Palestinian land, suppressing under its occupation many other Palestinians, deaf to their rights and just claims and poised for another violent thrust against its neighbours. The case is simple but the road to a just conclusion has been agonizing and tortuous. Such is your task now. Your Committee knows the facts. It has a clear mandate. Its membership shares a clear sense of what is just and right in the Palestinian controversy. What it needs to do and must do is to chart the road to the restoration of Palestinian rights and the establishment of a just peace in the Middle East.
The achievement of Palestinian rights and the establishment of a just peace in the Middle East are inseparable goals. As the history of this question has proven time and again, peace cannot be achieved in the tortured and explosive Middle East until the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people is redress and until they are able to exercise their rights to repatriation, national restoration and self-determination. Likewise, Palestinian rights cannot be achieved outside a comprehensive, just settlement that would include Israel's withdrawal from all the Arab territories it occupied in June 1967, and the establishment of a just and durable peace.
The components of a just peace in the Middle East are organically linked and inseparable. We in Jordan know this only too well. More than most countries in the world and in the area, we have been intimately linked with the history and realities of the Palestinian question. Geographical proximity, historical ties and the transcendental spiritual unity of aspirations and suffering have made the people of Jordan a witness to and a participant in the vicissitudes of the Palestinian people. The Government of Jordan speaks out of experience When it asserts that no peace can be just and lasting in the Middle East without the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, and that, equally, any such solution of the Palestinian problem must be global and comprehensive, say this because we know that Arab identification with the sufferings, struggle and aspirations of the Palestinian people has altered the course of history in our region and has radically decided the relationship of the Arab world with the world at large.
Jordan's attitude towards and relationship with the Palestinian question always been at the centre of the events in the Middle East and has been widely regarded as crucial to future developments. It would be useful and ,necessary, therefore, to elaborate briefly on this point.
While the Arab people of the Middle East are as ancient as their civilization their modern States are the products of the development which took place during the earlier part of this century. Like their closer neighbours, the Jordanian people acquired their modern State in the early 1920s. In 1971 Jordan officially celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Jordanian State. While the Arab people of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Arab Peninsula were acquiring their independence and freedom, the Palestinian Arab people were facing a reversed historical process in the 1920s, the 1930s and the 1940s.
Colonialism was withdrawing in the Arab world, particularly in the east, but in Palestine the settled and prosperous Arab people were confronted by a peculiar and unique situation where foreign invading forces were moving decisively not only to colonize them but violently to expel them from their homeland. As the Palestinian people were struggling against this overwhelming invading force, the Jordanian people and the rest of the Arab nation stood by them in feeling and emotion and in every other way which expressed this solidarity.
But colonialism in the 1930s and the 1940s had not yet been reduced to its present impotence, and its resources were ample-and superior. So the Zionists' programme of colonizing Palestine and displacing its people, backed as it was by the enormous resources at their disposal, succeeded despite the resistance of the Palestinian people and the support of an agonized and not yet free Arab world. The massive Palestinian exodus took place in 19^7-19^8, and the first phase of the Zionist programme was achieved.
When the 1948 tragedy came about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan joined the Arab countries that hastened to assist the Palestinian people in defending itself against the attempt to uproot it from its land by force. The Arab efforts were not successful, however, in rescuing the Palestinians and preventing their displacement. As the armistice was imposed by the United Nations, Jordan felt a national responsibility to strive to protect the remainder of Palestine in the West Bank and Jerusalem from occupation and from the Israeli attempts to empty it of its inhabitants. The fear of danger and the unity of hope and brotherhood culminated in a consensus between the Jordanian leadership and the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank on establishing a political and constitutional unity, was achieved in 1950 by constitutional means and through the general flections. Unity was established without prejudice to the full rights of Palestinian people and was based on Jordan's commitment to self-determination for the Palestinian people when circumstances permitted or whenever possible.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan remained committed to this principle for over a quarter of a century. While tying its future and policies with the Palestinian hopes and interests it remained keenly aware of the fact that the Palestinian identity was an established historic reality and should not be obscured or denied. This is why Jordan rejects the more recent Israeli argument which attempts to confuse Jordan with Palestine in an attempt to obliterate the concrete and established rights of the Palestinians in the Palestinian land and on Palestinian soil.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is proud to have carried a considerable of the responsibility of the Palestinian cause for many years, but it rejects the Israeli attempt to relieve itself from the guilt and escape the responsibility for redressing the injustice done to the Palestine people by pushing the problem towards Jordan. The rights of the Palestinians are in the of Palestine, and there is no way in which these rights could be obscured which the responsibility of Israel could be concealed by forcing the Palestinians to seek an alternative homeland.
Israel cannot escape its responsibility in displacing the refugees and occupying the Palestinian territory by playing semantic games in which it alleges the Palestinians have already achieved their rights and self-determination Within Jordan.
The historic borders of Palestine are well known, and the vast majority of Palestinian people are either under Israeli occupation since June 1967, in West Bank and the Gaza, or refugees residing in the various Arab countries from their homes and property. This is the situation that needs to be corrected. The eagerness of the Arabs to reaffirm their general unity and the link of brotherhood and partnership with the Palestinian people does not mean that the Palestinian rights in the land of Palestine no longer exist nor does it change the nature or the geographical definition of these rights.
Israel occupies now the whole of Palestine. Any just settlement which aims at enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its national self-determination proceed on the basis of this fact.
When Israel unleashed its premeditated attack on its Arab neighbours in June 1967, Jordan, together with Syria and Egypt, had to absorb the major burden of the physical, human, emotional and political shock of that aggression and its aftermath. We struggled for many years to contain the expansion, rebuild our societies and economies and strive for Israeli evacuation. Jordan struggled with vigour and resilience to achieve these goals and remained attached to its basic commitment to the Palestinian cause.
It was in that spirit, and in solidarity with the rest of the Arab peoples 9 that it concurred with the unanimous decision of the Arab Summit Conference of Rabat in October 1974 and recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people carrying the national and international responsibilities entailed in that capacity. We continue to support the brotherly Palestinian people in its struggle against occupation and exile and for return, self-determination and freedom. We have not stopped nor will we stop our various forms of assistance to our brothers who are under occupation and who need every kind of political, financial, economic and other kinds of support to maintain their national existence in their homeland under the most difficult circumstances .
Your Committee and the whole United Nations face a concrete and specific task regarding the Palestinian people. Government is ready to cooperate with your Committee in every way it can to help the implementation of its mandate. Let me state that there are certain principles that must govern any lasting and just solution to the Palestinian problem.
In our opinion, there are two broad principles that must be accepted as a general framework. First, any solution of the Palestinian problem cannot be separated from the other essential components of a comprehensive settlement. There must be Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories and there must be a restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. There must be a just peace that ensures this together with any future guarantees for a lasting peace. Secondly, the Waited Nations, representing the international community, must throw its weight behind the requirements of a just settlement. The United Nations is not an observer. The international community is not unconcerned with the problem in the Middle East. The United Nations must be ready to mobilize its resources behind the implementation of a plan of justice in the Middle East. It must be ready to enforce its resolutions and guarantee a future just settlement.
On a more specific level, the Palestinian question consists of two aspects. The first is the right of Palestinian refugees to go back to their homes and property from which they were uprooted and expelled. There are scores of General Assembly resolutions in this regard, all of which confirm the principle of return. The United Nations created in the past a number of implementation machinery's for the achievement of that goal. Many studies, reports and plans are in the records of the United Nations on this aspect. This Committee could benefit from this legacy in its analysis of the problem of the refugees their repatriation and their acquisition of their property. The Committee, respectfully suggest, must develop a plan of action for the implementation of the right to return of the displaced Palestinians.
The other aspect of the Palestinian question is that which pertains to the exercise of the principle of self-determination and the establishment of the national identity. Just as in the earlier aspect, where the right of return has been frustrated by Israel's opposition to it in principle, this aspect of the Palestinian rights — that is, self-determination — is confronted by Israel's opposition and physical military presence.
As a manifestation of Israel's fear of and opposition to the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, it has been careful since the adoption of the partition resolution on 29 November 1947 by the General Assembly not to define its own borders. Between 29 November 1947 and the end of 19^8 Israel occupied a substantial area beyond the limits of the area defined in that resolution. Since June 1967 Israel has been occupying the whole of the West Bank and Gaza. Thus, all of Palestine is under Israel's de facto jurisdiction.
The Palestinian right of self-determination must find its expression in Palestine, in spite of Israel's unjust, stubborn and irrational opposition. This Committee must help in that regard. It must support the principle, define its concrete requirements and be prepared to awaken the United Nations to its role and responsibility in the achievement of that goal.
This Committee has another very important responsibility, a subtle if a major one. This Committee has the task of refocusing international attention on the essentials, the basics of the Palestine question. It has the task of keeping alive international concern with the progress towards a just solution and a lasting peace. As it proceeds with its efforts, it must keep its attention focused on the means of mobilizing world opinion and all United Nations resources behind a viable course of action towards the implementation of its mandate. Defining the issues and drawing up the plans will require great ingenuity and perception, but it is the implementation that will be the most arduous and painstaking process.
The whole of the United Nations must be asked to bring its influence to bear on the future developments in the Middle East.
* Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee. 76-05773
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, Middle East situation, Palestine question
Publication Date: 17/03/1976