Seventh emergency special session
PROVISIONAL VERBATIM RECORD OF THE FOURTEENTH MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 23 July 1980, at 10.30 a.m.
Mr. SALIM (United Republic of Tanzania)
– Question of Palestine /5/ (continued)
This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the General Assembly.
Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room A-3550, 866 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
The meeting was called to order at 10.55 a.m.
AGENDA ITEM 5 (continued)
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
The PRESIDENT: Before calling on the first speaker, I should like to remind delegations that, in accordance with the decision taken by the Assembly yesterday afternoon, the list of speakers will be closed today at 12 noon.
Mr. HAMEED (Sri Lanka): Mr. President, I should like to express my pleasure at seeing you in the Chair at this emergency special session. My delegation extends to you its fullest support and cooperation in the discharge of your duties. I am encouraged by your presidency, and I do hope that under your leadership we may find a solution which would give the Palestinian people their rightful place in the community of nations.
The Sixth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, meeting in Havana in 1979, declared that an emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly should be convened, should the Security Council fail to act because of lack of unanimity among the permanent members of the Council. (A/34/542, annex, Political Declaration, para. 133)
The summoning of this emergency special session follows from the fact that the Security Council has failed as an effective instrument.
In the long history of the United Nations concern with the question of Palestine and with the injustice, oppression and denial of human rights of an unfortunate people has now reached a crucial stage. During its tenure of office as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, Sri Lanka was privileged in 1978 in Belgrade to see the Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement call for the convening of a special session to consider the Question of Palestine. Our meeting today is the outcome of this initiative. Apart from the profound political significance of this session, for Sri Lanka there is a special reason which adds to our readiness to participate in the session.
In the message of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka to this emergency special session, which is before the Assembly as an annex to document A/ES-7/4, the President emphasized that this session must establish the basis for an effective solution. In this way we have confirmed the role of the United Nations in effecting a just solution to the question of Palestine. General Assembly resolution 33/28 of 7 December 1978 declared in no uncertain terms that any agreement purporting to solve the problem of Palestine must be within the framework of the United Nations and its Charter. The solution should provide for the full attainment and exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty. No other solution will be acceptable to us. No other solution can bring lasting peace and stability. Any other agreement will be a makeshift and will not stand the test of time.
The United Nations is familiar with the history of this question. What we have witnessed over the years is the continuing denial of the rights of the Palestinian people caused by the total failure of the United Nations to implement its resolutions and to discharge its responsibility towards the Palestinian people.
The question of Palestine is a relic of colonialism and imperialism. It is a canker caused by the cynical uprooting of peoples and the carving up of nations by the great Powers. At the United Nations, we have watched with pride the return of so many nations to freedom and independence. Our own freedom, our own sovereignty, which we in Sri Lanka regained in 1948 after four and a half centuries of foreign domination, cannot taste so sweet as long as our fellow human beings remain oppressed. We are witnessing the dying phase of imperialism and colonialism. No force on earth can bolster them permanently. The political Elite of the world can help to meet the challenges of today only if it faces reality and hastens the closure of this ugly chapter. We have wasted our energies in disputes when we should have been co-operating to find solutions to urgent problems facing the international community. The more we postpone solutions to these problems, the more we are throwing the international community into turmoil.
In 1947 Palestine was partitioned into a Jewish State and an Arab State, and that was approved by the General Assembly. The City of Jerusalem had a special status. More than half the area of Palestine was constituted as the State of Israel. Events have prompted us to question the wisdom of the General Assembly in having undertaken such a course of action. Modern diplomacy must draw lessons from this experience. A wrong decision imposed arbitrarily can set ablaze an entire region and sometimes the whole world. Granting that we accept this division as legitimate, a cursory glance at the map today will show how openly the land-grab has sprawled. The State of Israel has now swallowed up, or intends to swallow up, Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus and the whole of southern Lebanon.
If the partition was not just, how much more unjust are the 1948 armistice lines, on the basis of which territorial claims are being made at the expense of the Palestinian people. Today Israeli occupation includes what was left of Palestine – that is, Gaza, the West Bank of Jordan and the Old City of Jerusalem. We have all recognized that the Middle East question is a flash-point of great danger to the peace and security of the entire world. Tut when we talk of this question, what actually do we mean? Is it not true that, at the very core of this question, is the injustice done to the Palestinian people? Any solution of the Middle East question can therefore come only from a solution of the Palestine question. Palestine is not incidental to any solution. Palestine is the crux of the problem, and, if we need a peaceful solution, we must not fragment our approach to the matter, as we have done so far, dealing with one aspect now and another later or each of them separately.
The United Nations has for several years concerned itself with the Palestine refugee question. We have established a Relief and Works Agency. We have spoken at length on the principle of repatriation and compensation for loss of property. But, somehow, this seemed to be irrelevant to the main issue. It was infused with humanitarian principles that touched the chords of sympathy without demanding redress for an injustice which can be achieved only by the return of Palestine to the Palestinians on the basis of self-determination.
And then again, since 1967 we have also engaged in the investigation of Israeli practices in occupied territories following the 1967 war. These deal with reports of ill-treatment and torture of detainees, collective punishment, the forced transfer of Palestinians and the denial of their right to return, Israeli settlements and Israeli annexationist policies. The work of the Special Committee of the United Nations which is investigating this conduct has been extremely useful in keeping the attention of the United Nations focused on this area and exposing the behaviour of Israel. However, this exercise is no substitute for self-determination.
In our view, the creation in 1975 of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has brought the United Nations back on the road to dealing with the Palestinian question as it should be dealt with as the core issue and as a whole.
The question of Palestine has two main aspects. The first arises from the partition which ignored the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and consigned them to lives of wretched misery in refugee camps. The second aspect arises from the annexationist settlement policies of Israel in the occupied territories.
We should now address our minds to the salient features of an effective solution. In recent times the Security Council has been compelled to take note of the increasing scale and tempo of Israeli activities directed against the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian homeland. These activities are part of a deliberate plan to remove the basis for Palestinian self-determination. Then we say that Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories, we intend that such withdrawal should be part of the self-determination process. It is imperative that the settlement and annexation policies of Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem be halted, dismantled and declared null and void.
The relevance of the refugee question to self-determination is that those in exile should have the right to return and to be reunited with their kith and kin in a Palestinian homeland. We must emphasize here that the Palestinian problem is not a refugee problem. It is not a question of providing new homes for refugees. It is a question of forced exile and the right to return is the lawful remedy for illegal eviction.
The United Nations has so far failed to effect Palestinian participation in the peace that the United Nations hopes to construct in the Middle East. It is our view that the situation does not permit proxy representation for Palestine, as that would amount to a rejection of the aspirations of the Palestinian people collectively deposited with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Government of Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President J. R. Jayewardene, recognizes politically and diplomatically the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle for the realization of those rights under the leadership of the PLO. I wish to reinforce and reiterate that recognition, for we feel that such international recognition is an essential first step on the way to peace. We talk of and recognize the need for an enduring peace; the best guarantee of that is the participation of the Palestinian people, led by the PLO, in the peace negotiations. Let there be no mistake about it. There can be no solution, there can be no durable peace, without the participation of the PLO in the negotiations. The PLO cannot be dismissed as an organization with no right of access to the peace table. Modern history has shown that every effort to keep freedom fronts away from negotiating tables has miserably failed.
What the United Nations General Assembly seeks to do is to establish the basis for removing the cause of the conflict that has been with us year after year. Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, combined with national self-determination for the Palestinian people will set right the injustice and remove the cause for conflict. Such a basis is probably the only one; the only prospect for peace. Piecemeal solutions to crucial problems represent only a postponement of the explosion to another day.
We do not fool ourselves into thinking that each one of us has the same capacity to ensure the achievement of the solution for Palestine. But we should not shirk our responsibility to make common cause with the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that given the full support of the United Nations and encouragement to proceed in the correct direction, each Member State can play a significant role,according to its capacity,in finding a just solution.
The claims of the Palestinian people cannot be ignored by anybody here. The United Nations could clearly and decisively take the most obvious decision that the situation warrants° and yet it does not. For how many years have we debated this question? Can we count the millions of words spoken in sympathy for the Palestinians? And yet, what a staggering disproportion between the words end the deeds.
One suspects that Palestine has for long been a football kicked around in the arena of big-Power rivalry. The common sense approach to a just solution has been fractured and fragmented with a great deal of sophistry in the interests of East-West power politics, bloc rivalries and the carving out of spheres of influence.
We are used to tactics aimed at making the Palestinian question a part of some bigger package. They are mere tactics which bring no credit to the United Nations, where the principles and even the policies in favour of self-determination are basic to the very existence of the United Nations. It may be expedient to put aside a resolution of this prolonged crisis for another year and then another, but what is expedient is not what is right. It may be expedient to sit on a powder keg in the hope that it may not blow up. We must not wait for a catastrophe to bring us to our senses.
We have an opportunity at this session to demonstrate clearly that aggression and the use of force cannot deny a people their national rights, freedom and sovereignty. Let us grasp that opportunity to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and the tension in the Middle East. A grievous wrong has been done to the people of Palestine. That wrong must be rectified urgently and completely. The Palestinians have suffered deeply and unconscionably in the past. That suffering must end now. Upon that suffering and sacrifice I am confident that a nation will and must emerge to join us here to work in peace and harmony for a new and hopeful tomorrow.
Mr. HALASZ (Hungary) Mr. President, it gives me great pleasure to convey to you, on behalf of the delegation of Hungary, our warmest congratulations on your unanimous election as President of this emergency special session of the General Assembly at a time when once again this august body is met to consider one of the most urgent problems, one that has confronted it for more than three decades.
I am confident that your personal qualities as a most prominent diplomat of a friendly country and your dynamic leadership will make it possible to produce substantial results for the Arab people of Palestine and for the peoples of the world who are looking towards our deliberations with great expectations.
Various aspects of the problems in the :addle East, including the question of Palestine, have been before the United Nations since 1947. At present the overwhelming majority of States Members of our Organization recognizes that the question of Palestine is the basic element in the Middle. East conflict. This has been reflected in the resolutions of the General Assembly adopted in 1974 which call for the definition of the inalienable rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including the right to self-determination, to national sovereignty and to return to their homes from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and the recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. Subsequent General Assembly resolutions created a Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and established a Special Unit on Palestinian Rights in the United Nations Secretariat.
The Committee made its recommendations on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People. They have been adopted by the General Assembly, and they have been endorsed by different organizations and bodies of the international community, by the League of Arab States, the Islamic Conference, the Organization of African Unity, the Movement of Mon-Aligned Countries and, of course, the countries of the socialist community. Unfortunately the Security Council has not yet adopted those recommendations because of the attitude of certain of its members which encourage Israel in its policy of obstruction and defiance in the occupied Arab territories.
The position of my country with respect to the holy City of Jerusalem has already been defined in this forum. The question of Jerusalem is of special importance to all the parties concerned. I should like to repeat that my delegation is unable to accept any unilateral measure designed to alter the juridical and political status of Jerusalem. We deeply regret and object to the recently announced Israeli decision to annex the Holy City. The action of Israel will certainly have the most serious consequences. My country is in favour of adopting resolutions at this session which contain effective measures aimed at halting Israel°s designs on Jerusalem and all other occupied Arab territories.
A comprehensive settlement in the Middle East involves three organically linked provisions: first, recognition of the inadmissibility of acquiring territory through war, and consequently the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 secondly, the honouring of the legal rights of the Arab people of Palestine, without whose participation the Palestinian question cannot be solved:, and, thirdly, respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of all States of the region, including, of course, Israel. Those provisions continue to be the basis of our principled approach to the problems of the Middle East.
However, secret negotiations and manoeuvres backstage have undermined the chance of establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The contents of those negotiations are the same as those that have for a long time blocked any serious international talks on this problem and have split up the Arab front in order to protect the interests of Israel and its patrons. Those deals overlook the key issues in the Middle East settlement and represent a blow to a comprehensive approach.
The real background and essence of the "frameworks for peace in the Middle East" elaborated at Camp David will be revealed with the passage of time. However, it is clear that they represent a virtual abandonment of the principles for the solution of the Middle East conflict that are contained in the resolutions of the General Assembly. Their policy of undermining the vital interests of the Arab people of Palestine now predominates. Instead of securing a comprehensive settlement, one of the parties has been pushed towards concluding a separate peace on the terms of the other two.
Not without reason, one recalls in this context the words of the late President Nasser, who, on 25 April 1968, at Cairo University, said:
"Nullifying the results of Israeli aggression does not simply mean having Israeli troops withdrawn from Sinai. If that were the case, we could get a result over night … I repeat, if we had to liberate just Sinai, then the whole thing would be quite easy. What is actually at stake is our destiny, the destiny of all Arabs. If it were merely a question of liberating Sinai, we should accept the American-Israeli terms and let Israel have Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan and other Arab lands … The problem is far more complex than the liberation of Sinai: shall we remain an independent and sovereign State, shall we fall within a sphere of influence or reject it? That is the question.
It is obvious that the Camp David deal does not eliminate the causes of the conflict in the region. It does not heal any wounds, but makes them deeper. A just and lasting peace has clearly been sacrificed in the interests of an alliance which has to assume the responsibility for any dangerous consequences. It is also obvious that an unjust peace cannot be a lasting one. Any attempts to ignore the fundamental prerequisites for a just solution or to bypass it cannot give anything but the illusion of a settlement and can only make the situation more explosive.
The parties to the Camp David accords should have realized by now that as long as they insist on ignoring the key issue for peace in the Middle East – that is, the national rights of the Arab people of Palestine – peace will continue to elude them. To impose a settlement upon the Palestinian people is to aggravate an already deteriorating situation. We share the view of the majority of nations that the "autonomy" talks have failed because the starting-point was totally wrong. The issue at stake is not "autonomy". It is a question of self-determination, national independence and statehood for more than 3 million people. The Israeli occupation cannot alter that fact- it can only prolong the suffering of the peoples of the Middle East.
The solution to the whole Middle East conflict lies in the long overdue implementation of the resolutions of the General Assembly. This way leads to peace all others are self-defeating. A concerted world-wide action can secure this solution, which will provide peace, justice and security for all.
In conclusion I should like to state that my country has always supported the just struggle of the Arab people of Palestine. We are with the Palestinian people in their fight for their own independent State. We are convinced that the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization on an equal footing with other parties is really indispensable in all efforts and deliberations on the Middle East.
Mr. BLUM (Israel): Anybody accusing the United Nations of immobilism is being plastically disproved here right now. The delegations engaging in this childish exercise seem to believe that by walking away from the truth, truth itself will walk away. They are badly mistaken: truth will follow them even to the sidelines and dark passages of this hall, from where they prefer to listen to my statement.
We are supposedly here to listen to one another and to reason with one another. Is there not something symbolic in this ridiculous walk-out? Does it not highlight the root cause of the Arab-Israel conflict, that is the refusal of the Arab world to come to terms with Israel's existence?
The absentees are also precisely the same States which have put themselves on the sidelines of the mainstream of real developments in the Middle East, and have become bystanders – somewhat neurotic bystanders – to the current peace process.
There is a world of reality – and there is the world of the United Nations.
There is the United Nations Charter – and there is its persistent violation by the majority within this Organization.
There are the rules of procedure of the General Assembly – and there are the arbitrary procedures applied to every aspect of the Arab-Israel conflict.
There are the indisputable facts of that conflict – and there is the complete distortion of those facts in the documents, deliberations and resolutions of the United Nations.
There is a balanced and practical approach to peace-making in the Middle East – and there is a concerted campaign to frustrate the peace process through the United Nations and thus prolong the conflict in the Middle East.
Anyone reviewing the business of the United Nations since the beginning of this year would be bound to conclude that there are hardly any international crises or threats to peace and security in the world other than the Arab-Israel conflict. The Soviet Union has withdrawn from Afghanistan. Its troops have stopped slaughtering thousands of ordinary Afghans. Sweetness and light radiate from South-East Asia. There are no threats to the sovereignty, national independence and territorial integrity of States in that region. The huge flow of refugees from Viet Nam and Cambodia has ceased. A hundred and twenty thousand individuals were not driven out in recent months from Cuba and turned into refugees. All has been and remains quiet in Africa, from the top to the bottom of that continent, including the Sahara, the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. In the Middle East there are no tensions between Iran and Iraq. The two Yemens have been acting as model neighbours. The Syrian army of occupation has pulled back from Lebanon. Stability and tranquillity reign in the north of that war-torn country. International terrorism, with its concomitant features of indiscriminate murder and the taking of hostages, has been brought under control. Apparently, were it not for Israel, international harmony would reign all over, and it is only Israel that prevents the advent of the Messianic era.
Indeed, from the apparent dearth of emergencies throughout the world, the outside observer might even conclude that the human condition is a happy one. But, as we all know, nothing could be further from the truth. When one looks at the vast assemblage of nations gathered here and tries to compute the sum total of human misery that most of them represent, one is forced to quite a different conclusion. Indeed, as one contemplates the very real threats to the existence of literally hundreds of millions of human beings, the wars, the lack of freedom, the brutal suppression of minorities, the mass death sentences, the persecution and torture of dissidents, the cruelty and the degradation, the disease, the malnutrition and the poverty in the world today, one can only conclude that the lawless majority in this Assembly shamelessly turns its back on the real problems facing mankind by indulging so much of its time in barren, anti-Israel exercises.
The fact is that many of the States represented here regularly violate every human standard and international norm in the conduct of their affairs, both domestic and external. They regularly practise every crime that they mendaciously attribute to Israel, but the Assembly is not convened in emergency special session. The international crimes and the threats to peace persistently perpetrated by totalitarian and dictatorial regimes which rush to harass Israel are legion, yet the General Assembly passes over them in silence.
The reason for this hypocrisy, cynicism and bias is not hard to explain. In everything to do with the Arab-Israel conflict, a majority of this Assembly lets itself be led – in some cases willingly, in others under duress – by a coalition of extreme Arab States, in conjunction with the Soviet Union, its satellites and the radicals in the non-aligned group of countries.
Virtually all the Arab States are still obsessed with Israel. Most of them still refuse to recognize Israel and its right to exist. Most of them are still committed to the destruction of Israel and to the use of "all means" to achieve that objective. Among those so-called means are the manipulation of this Organization, the monopolization of its time, the abuse of its means and machinery, and even the harnessing of the Secretariat, so that the whole United Nations system can be exploited in the relentless Arab campaign of political warfare against Israel. What is happening here in this session and, for that matter, what is happening at the United Nations World Conference on Women in Copenhagen are only the latest manifestations of the ceaseless Arab warfare against Israel.
The holding of this so-called emergency special session is both illegal and preposterous. It makes a complete mockery of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.
The "Uniting for Peace" resolution – 377 A (V) of 3 November 1950 – which is the only basis for convening an emergency special session, laid down clear conditions under which such sessions might be held. As I explained in my letter to the Secretary-General of 20 July 1980 (A/35/344), those prerequisites have not been met in this case.
Moreover, the convening of this session not only patently violates the terms of resolution 377 A (V). It has also been arbitrarily timed to suit the whims and partisan interests of a group of States and their supporters in their implacable campaign against the current peace process in the Middle East, and in their constant attempts to divert attention away from such uncomfortable topics as Afghanistan. As is common knowledge, this so-called emergency special session has been contemplated for years. The decision to convene it at the appropriate time" – whether or not there existed an emergency, within the meaning of resolution 377 A (V) – was taken in September of last year, at the Sixth Non-Aligned Summit held in Havana, as can be seen from document A/34/542, of 11 October 1979, page 175.
The way in which the timing of this event was rigged has not escaped notice either. It only reinforces the absurdity of this entire exercise. Although the letter requesting the convening of an emergency special session was sent by the Permanent Representative of Senegal to the Secretary-General on 1 July 1980, the bulk of the replies to the Secretary-General's note on this matter were deliberately deposited with the Mission of Cuba and held back for almost three weeks until 21 July so that this make-believe "emergency session" would not begin before 22 July, the date set for this premeditated "emergency".
What then is the validity of this bogus "emergency special session" and of any resolutions that might emanate from it? The short answer is that this session is illegal. It follows that any resolutions adopted by it will be equally illegal and tainted ab initio.
But, if this phony event cannot be taken seriously, there is no doubt that it can do further damage to what little remains of the United Nations prestige and the moral authority of this Assembly. The cause of peace will not be advanced, but the United Nations will be dealt another blow.
Let us not deceive ourselves, because the world at large cannot be deceived, This mock "emergency session" is nothing but the latest stage in the well-orchestrated campaign which has been systematically conducted by the Arab enemies of peace in the Middle East and by their supporters, More specifically, it follows a marathon series of debates in the Security Council since February of this year, all of which had the same purpose – to interfere with and, if at all possible, subvert the ongoing peace process in the Middle East.
This debate has been initiated, ostensibly, by the Committee known as the "Palestine Committee", which is no more than a pliant tool in the hands of the terrorist PLO. It will be recalled that that Committee was set up through the General Assembly with the object of bypassing Security Council resolution 242 (1967). Little wonder that the Committee's recommendations, submitted to the General Assembly since 1976, accord fully with the PLO's declared aim of destroying the State of Israel.
Unable to destroy Israel through war and repeated acts of aggression, the Arab States have steadily encouraged terror against Israel through the PLO. They have also assiduously propagated a series of myths concerning the problem of the Palestinian Arabs. And in recent years, by exploiting the oil weapon and the grip they hold over large parts of the world's economy, the Arab petro-hegemonists have inflated the problem of the Palestinian Arabs out of all proportion, both in absolute and in relative terms.
Among the myths that have been deliberately propagated are the following: first, that the Palestinian Arabs have been denied their right of self-determination; secondly, that only one refugee problem – the Arab refugee problem – was created as a result of Arab aggression in 1948; thirdly, that there is some mystical connexion between the question of the Palestinian Arabs and the energy crisis, and that the latter will somehow go away if the former is solved at Israel's expense.
As always, reality is very different from myth. Stripped of all its artificial encumbrances, the problem facing us today takes on quite a different aspect. The simple and incontrovertible facts are:
First, two States have been established on the territory of the former Palestine Mandate. One is an Arab State – Jordan and the other is a Jewish State – Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have thus achieved self-determination in the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan.
Secondly, a Jewish refugee problem, in addition problem, was created by Arab aggression in 1948 and, of populations has taken place.
Thirdly, the energy crisis is unrelated to the Palestinian Arabs. Hence, the solution of one will not resolve the other.
Central to any discussion of the issue before us is the basic fact which I have just mentioned – namely, that two States have been established on the territory of the former Palestine Mandate. One is the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan, which achieved national self-determination, independence and sovereignty in 1946. The other is the Palestinian Jewish State of Israel which became independent in 1948. Hence, there is no need or justification whatsoever for the establishment of a second Palestinian Arab State. The fact is that the vast majority of Jordan's citizens are Palestinian Arabs; and, similarly, the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs are Jordanian citizens. Palestinian Arabs occupy leading positions in Jordan today too numerous to mention. They constitute Jordan's administrative, intellectual and economic €lite and are in fact the backbone and mainstay of that country.
Moreover, the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan is only one of 21 separate Arab States, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf, in which the Arabs have realized self-determination since the end of the First World War. The combined area of those 21 States is 5.5 million square miles, that is to say, 10.3 per cent – 10.3 per cent – of the world's land surface. The Arab States straddle an unbroken land-mass greater in size than Europe, the United States or China, and are rich in material resources, not least of them oil, on which much of modern life depends.
On the other hand, the total area of the original Palestine Mandate on which a Jewish State was to be established was about 45,000 square miles, that is, less than 1 per cent – less than 1 per cent of the enormous territories encompassed by the 21 Arab States today. This, however, is by no means the end of the story. With the establishment of the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan on about 80 per cent of the territory of the Palestine Mandate, the Palestinian Jewish State – Israel – was left with less than one fifth of 1 per cent – I repeat, less than one fifth of 1 per cent – of the total area of all the 21 Arab States today. And even this tiny sliver of land for the Jewish people to exercise its right of self-determination in its ancestral patrimony has been begrudged by the Arab world, which is apparently incapable of countenancing a non-Arab and non-Moslem State in the Middle East.
Everything that we have experienced in the Arab-Israel conflict since 1948 flows from one fundamental fact – the unwillingness of Arab Governments to accept and coexist with a sovereign Jewish State, irrespective of its size and boundaries.
The adamant refusal on the part of the Arab world to recognize Israel's right to exist has always been and remains the core and cause of the Arab-Israel conflict and everything else is pretext or subterfuge. This was the reason that the Arab States, as well as the Arabs of Palestine, categorically and on the United Nations record rejected General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 and initiated hostilities with the express purpose of aborting that resolution and preventing the establishment of the State of Israel. The fact that the Arabs failed in their armed aggression aimed at destroying Israel does not legitimize their violation of international law. At the same time, that armed, aggression precludes them from invoking in any form the benefits of a General Assembly resolution which they both rejected and destroyed by force of arms.
This refusal to recognize Israel's existence as well as its right to exist is the reason why the Arabs have, since 1948, launched four major wars against my country. This is the reason why they have developed a ramified series of battlefronts and a vast array of weapons against my country, These weapons include, inter alia, an economic boycott of Israel which has been extended into a secondary boycott on third parties trading with my country. Various States have been blackmailed into joining this campaign against my country. A propaganda war of major proportions has been directed for years against my country. And the United Nations has been seized upon, in all its various organs and agencies, as an instrument readily at the disposal of the Arab States in their relentless political warfare against my country.
Within this context, but with even uglier intent, the Arab States also created the terrorist organization which came to be known as the PLO. That murder organization was founded in 1964 – that is to say, three years before the Six Day War of June 1967 – at a time when Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District were under Jordanian and Egyptian occupation, respectively. In other words, it is evident that the PLO was created by the Arab States merely as another weapon in their serried arsenal for the destruction of Israel, even before the Six Day War of 1967.
The PLO's so-called Covenant is permeated with the criminal and politicidal concept of the elimination of the State of Israel. That document was originally adopted in 1964. It was amended in 1968 and has been reaffirmed since year after year.
The General Assembly should be aware, and must be aware, that almost every article in the PLO's Covenant calls for or implies the dissolution of the State of Israel. Article 19 of the document in question declares that "the establishment of the State of Israel is fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed". Article 20 goes on to assert that the claim of historical or spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine does not tally with historical realities". In other words, with one cavalier stroke of the pen, the PLO seeks to rewrite more than 3,000 years of the history of mankind. Article 15 grotesquely defines the "purging of the Zionist presence from Palestine" as the PLO's objective.
These are not abstract propositions, but operational principles. Most specifically, articles 9 and 10 of the Covenant call for indiscriminate terror against Israel and its citizens.
The PLO has not hesitated to translate its criminal doctrine into criminal deeds. Attempts at mass murder of innocent men, women and children in Israel and throughout the world have characterized the PLO and its activities since its creation in 1964. In the course of the last 16 years, over 1,000 men, women and children not only Jews, but also Arabs and others – have been murdered and more than 5,000 people have been maimed and wounded. The PLO has openly boasted of its responsibility for virtually every one of these outrages.
As we all know, the PLO has no inhibitions about violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of many States Members of the United Nations and has shown little respect for the niceties of law, order and public security in those countries. Because of the active support it receives from certain Arab Governments the PLO has become the linchpin of the "terrorist international" which is plaguing society throughout the world today. It services and supplies the needs of other terrorist groups in Europe, Latin America, Asia and. Africa, all of which, for example, train openly on PLO bases and plan and practise terrorist attacks without let or hindrance, and it frequently supplies mercenaries for règimes engaging in international terrorism.
Moreover, in all its criminal activities, the PLO is aided, trained and equipped by the Soviet Union and its satellites. In turn, the Soviet Union uses the PLO in its well-known attempts to destabilize the entire Middle East and to sabotage the peace process. Hence, it came as no surprise that this Soviet stooge rushed to proclaim its support for the Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, a non-aligned and Moslem. State. Similarly, it is no coincidence that Yasser Arafat, the terrorist chieftain who was responsible for the slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, was invited as a guest of honour to the allegedly non-political Olympic Games in Moscow. For anyone with a shred of decency and humanity, that visit can only conjure up feelings of sadness, contempt and disgust.
The grave threat to international security which is created in this way is further exacerbated by the encouragement which the PLO derives from the favourable attitudes here at the United Nations, in clear violation of the United Nations Charter and the rules of procedure of the various organs – witness the holding of this phoney "emergency special session".
Another result of the unremitting acts of Arab aggression against Israel since 1948 has been the creation of two refugee problems of similar dimensions in the Middle East – and not just one, as is commonly supposed.
By the time Arab aggression against Israel was successfully thwarted in 1949, some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs had become refugees in areas controlled by Arab Governments. Instead of settling and integrating their Palestinian brethren, who speak the same language, share the same cultural, historical and religious heritage and frequently even have family relations in the Arab host countries, those countries forced them to languish in camps and exploited them callously as a political weapon against Israel.
The thousands of Jews who lived in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District until 1948 could not resist for long the invading Arab armies. Those of them who had survived the invasion and prison camps sought and found refuge in the State of Israel.
A much larger problem of Jewish refugees was caused by the Arab hostility towards the ancient Jewish communities in Arab lands. Those Jews, who at the time numbered nearly one million and who over the centuries had contributed so much to the advancement of the Arab world from the cultural, economic and many other points of view, had often been treated as second-class citizens, subject to various forms of discrimination and persecution. Even before the Arab aggression against Israel in 1948 and 1949 was repelled,they fell victim to violence and further persecution at the hands of Arabs thirsting for revenge. Many of them were murdered. Others were thrown into prison and tortured. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee, leaving behind considerable property and material assets. Homes and businesses were looted, Bank accounts were frozen. Communal property and priceless cultural assets were expropriated by Arab Governments.
From 1948 to the present day more than 800,000 Jews have been forced to leave Arab countries. About 650,000 of them have become citizens of Israel, having arrived there in most cases with only the clothes on their backs. Hence, in effect, a de facto exchange of populations has taken place between the Arab States and Israel, triggered off by Arab aggression in 1947 and 1948.
According to United Nations figures, there have been anything between 60 and 100 million refugees and displaced persons since the end of the Second World War. Even if one accepts the smaller of these figures, the Arab refugees in 1948 constituted no more than one per cent of the total. The vast majority of the other refugee problems in the world, including the one of the Jewish refugees, have been solved by the refugees' settlement and integration into their new countries or places of residence. To be sure, this has already been accomplished as regards most of the Arab refugees and their offspring, the vast majority of whom continue to live in the territory of the former Palestine Mandate and are citizens of the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan.
Before 1967 Israel did not control Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. Yet there was no demand then for the establishment of a "Palestinian State" in those areas. The Arab countries which now so sanctimoniously preach about the necessity for a "Palestinian State" in those areas did nothing at the time.
The explanation for this is very simple: the entire world knew that the Kingdom of Jordan is the Palestinian Arab State, just as the State of Israel is the Palestinian Jewish State. The entire world also knew that the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs are Jordanian citizens and that the majority of Jordan's citizens are Palestinian Arabs.
However, in an attempt to undermine the peace process called for by the Security Council in its resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, Arab strategists searched for slogans and terms that would catch on in the general political climate which had developed in the world by that time. They estimated that they stood more to gain by promoting the alleged existence of a second Palestinian Arab people, entitled to a second Palestinian Arab State in the area of the former Palestine Mandate.
The advantages of that tactical sleight of hand were obvious. It would enable the Arab States to claim that there was still a Palestinian Arab people deprived of the rights to self-determination and independence, and the implementation of those claims would clearly be at the expense of Israel's existence.
Leading spokesmen of the PLO admit that this bogus thesis was invented to work towards the destruction of the State of Israel. For instance, Zuhair Muhsin, the head of the PLO's so-called "military department" until his violent death last year, was quoted in the Dutch daily newspaper, Trouw, on 31 March 1977:
"The existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes.
"The founding of a Palestinian State is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel and for Arab unity.
"After we have attained all our rights in the whole of Palestine, we must not postpone, even for a single moment, the reunification of Jordan and Palestine."
The meaning could not be clearer. The assertion of a second Palestinian Arab identity is merely one more subterfuge designed to bring about the destruction of the State of Israel – if not in one fell swoop, then in stages.
For a number of years now the PLO has advocated a programme which is sometimes described by its spokesmen as a two – or three-stage policy. In essence, it aims in its first stage at the establishment of a second Palestinian Arab State anywhere in the territories administered by Israel since 1967. The second stage of the policy is to use this proposed State as a launching pad for the ultimate overthrow of Israel.
This programme was described with complete candour by Farouk Kaddoumi, another of Yasser Arafat's henchmen, in Newsweek magazine on 14 March 1971:
"There are two /initial/ phases to our return: the first phase to the 1967 lines, and the second to the 1948 lines. The third stage is the democratic State of Palestine. So we are fighting for these three stage. Asked by the interviewer if the PLO had become more moderate, Kaddoumi replied
"By moderation we mean we are ready.., to establish a State on a part of our territory. In the past we said no, on all of it, immediately, a democratic State of Palestine. Now we say no, this can be implemented in three stages. That is moderation."
This is not moderation. It is the cold, unvarnished truth, notwithstanding the wishful thinking of certain international figures in Europe and elsewhere. Some of those who fell into the trap of regarding as "moderate" a plan to destroy Israel in stages were given a rude awakening less than two months ago by the Fourth Congress of al-Fatah, the largest terrorist group within the PLO, had by that well – known moderate, Yasser Arafat.
That Congress adopted a "political programme" which, as published by the Beirut newspaper, al-Liwa, on 2 June, declared that al-Fatah aim is
"to liquidate the Zionist entity politically, economically, militarily, culturally and ideologically."
The liquidation of Israel is advocated two more times in the course of this so-called "programme".
The Congress also adopted a series of resolutions, which show that the liquidation of Israel is only part of a wider design, involving an all-out onslaught on the free world, in conjunction with and on the basis of a "strategic alliance" with the Soviet Union. The United States is singled out as the prime target of these attacks, but the Western European States, Canada and Japan are also specifically mentioned. Towards these subversive ends, the oil weapon is to be used. The United Nations system is also to be exploited. Its resolutions repudiating the Camp David frameworks are to be promoted and its anti-Israel positions advanced.
This is, if I may put it crudely, where we are at now.
But the Arab rejectionist States are not content to reply on the PLO or the United Nations. To implement their sinister designs, they have created an enormous war machine and thus an ominous threat to peace. The rejectionists' strategy has been to create an "Eastern Front combining, in the first instance, the armed forces of Syria to the north of Israel, Jordan and Iraq to the east, and Saudi Arabia to the south. The combined military weight of these countries will be supplemented in times of war with sophisticated weapons available in enormous quantities from the arsenals of other rejectionist States. And this colossal array of force is to be mounted against Israel, also through Judea and Samaria if at all possible.
Let me try to give some notion of what is involved: the Arab States have today 500,000 more men under arms than has NATO and three times the artillery of the combined PAW forces. They also have 3,000 more tanks and several hundred more combat aircraft than NATO.
The Eastern Front alone, that is Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, is currently equivalent to NATO in manpower and tanks, and already has twice as much as artillery.
In terms of airpower, the Arab armies will this year equal the combined strength of the Warsaw Pact forces. They will be double that of NATO, or three times that of the People's Republic of China.
In terms of ground forces, the Arab States have today almost as many tanks as the United States of America and more artillery than it.
Moreover, in recent months all this has been eclipsed by the undisguised attempts of Iraq to produce nuclear weapons.
And against whom, one may well ask, is this colossal array of military power to be used? And given that the quantities of arms involve are far beyond the Arabs operational capacity, one may also ask by whom will it be used? Perhaps some members of the Assembly can take these harsh military facts lightly. Israel cannot.
The warmongers among the Arabs regard their proposed PLO State in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District as the most important bridgehead through which they might realize their dream of a war of annihilation against Israel. Even a cursory glance at the map will show why. Before 1967, Israel at its narrowest point was less than nine miles wide, that is, less than the length of Manhattan Island. Half of Israel's population is concentrated in the narrow coastal plain between Netanya and Tel Aviv. Before 1967, all this population was within easy reach of Jordan's long guns.
Ever since Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District have been under Israel control, the Arab rejectionists have tried to reconvert them into forward bases. In this they have allotted the PLO a special role and set them the task of using those territories as a launching pad for acts of hostility, terror, sabotage and subversion against Israel and its civilian population.
As part of their "grand design", the rejectionists would obviously like those territories leading to the outskirts of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and every other town and city in Israel, to become a PLO State – and emptied of any Israeli presence that may stand in their way. Israel sees absolutely no reason to oblige them.
If we put aside the myths, the political sloganeering and the propaganda, the problem facing us can be seen to be of manageable proportions. There is already a Palestinian Arab State called Jordan, populated by the majority of the Palestinian Arabs. It is a State in which the national identity and aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs have already found full expression.
Because of the Arab refusal to make peace with Israel, it was not possible for three decades to conduct serious negotiations about the Arab-Israel conflict in all its aspects. The possibility of such negotiations only opened up in 1977, and the elements for a comprehensive solution of the conflict only came together at Camp David in the late summer of 1978. In the course of bringing these elements together and in the light of the experience gained in negotiating the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, we have. all cone to recognize how difficult and complex the process is of reconciling and accommodating the legitimate concerns, including the security interests, of all those involved.
To make peace with Egypt, Israel made many sacrifices and took many risks. Israel preferred these sacrifices for peace over the sacrifices of war.
But given the long record of Arab hostility and aggression against Israel, it is inevitable that, before the final boundaries are delineated between Israel and Jordan, there must be a transitional period – a period which, in the parlance of the United Nations, will in itself constitute a confidence-building measure. That is precisely the concept embodied in the Camp David Framework for Peace in the Middle East as regards the future of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District and the Palestinian Arabs residing in those areas.
The Camp David Framework is squarely based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which to this day remains the only agreed basis for peace negotiations in the Middle East. Any attempt to tamper with that resolution or by-pass it through the General Assembly can only undermine the whole delicate structure on which the peace process is based. And this is precisely what the initiators of this session want.
The Camp David Framework sees the solution of the question of the Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District in terms of granting them full autonomy, for a transitional period of five years, before reaching an agreement on the final status of the areas concerned. To that end, it was agreed to negotiate on a principle of self-government – to be exercised through an administrative council – for the Arab inhabitants of the areas in question.
The Camp David Framework invites the Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District to play an active role in shaping their future, by calling on them to participate not only in current negotiations to set up a self-governing administrative council, but also in the negotiations which will determine the final status of the areas they live in, as well as in the eventual negotiations on a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, in which the delimitation of boundaries between the two countries will be agreed.
This solution offers the Palestinian Arabs concerned greater opportunities than anything they have ever experienced in their history. It offers them the prospect of governing themselves, of prosperity and of a peaceful co-existence alongside their neighbours. It offers them a secure future, free from terror.
Much has been claimed and will be claimed here in the name of the Palestinian Arabs. Little, if anything, has been said or will be said here about the Jewish people's inalienable right to self-determination, national sovereignty and independence in its homeland – the Land of Israel. For here as elsewhere in the United Nations, constant attempts are being made to ignore and deny the fundamental rights of the Jewish people and to obscure the inseparable bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland, But no amount of distortion and fabrication in this building can undo so central a fact of the political, spiritual, cultural and religious history of the world.
The association of the Jewish people with the Land of Israel, unique in its circumstances, has always been part and parcel of the history of mankind, inextricably entwined in the fabric and texture of world culture. In witness of the profound historical and national ties between the Jewish people and its Land, there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Land from ancient times to the present day. Although Jewish sovereignty was crushed in the year 70 of the Common Era by the legions of imperial Rome, the bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel was never broken.
The Jewish people was never a people without a homeland. Having been robbed of their land, Jews never ceased to give expression to their anguish at their deprivation and to pray for and demand its return. Throughout the nearly two millennia of dispersion, the Land of Israel remained the focus of Jewish national culture. Every single day, in all those 70 generations, Jews gave voice to their attachment to Zion.
In their daily prayers they turned towards Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the Jewish people, the one and only eternal capital of Israel. Every year, on the ninth day of Av, according to the Hebrew calendar the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome and of the resulting loss of Jewish national independence and sovereignty in.,the Land of Israel, the Jewish people has marked that calamitous event, as it did yesterday, by a day of fast and mourning devoted to spiritual reflection and national rededication.
The consciousness of the Jew that the Land of Israel was his country was not a theoretical exercise or an article of theology or.a sophisticated political outlook. It was, in a sense, all of these – and it was a pervasive and inextricable element in the very warp and woof of his daily life. Jewish prayers, Jewish literature are saturated with love and longing for the Land of Israel. For every Jew, in his home on family occasions, in his daily customs on weekdays and Sabbath, when he said grace over meals, when he got married, when he built his home, when he said his words of comfort to mourners, the context was always his exile, his hope and his belief in the return to Zion and the reconstruction of his homeland. He carried Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel, with him wherever he went. Jewish festivals remained tuned to the circumstances and conditions of the Jewish homeland. Whether Jews remained in warm Italy, Spain or Morocco, whether they found homes in cold Eastern Europe, whether they made their way westwards or came to live in the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed, they always celebrated the spring and autumn and winter of the Land of Israel. They prayed for dew in May and for rain in October.
Throughout the centuries, even if a large part of the nation was driven from one exile to another, many stayed on, reinforced time after time by returning exiles, maintaining their communities in the face of all manners of persecution, natural disaster and alien conquest. Throughout the centuries they provided the nucleus around which the aspirations of the dispersed and persecuted nation were galvanized and, through them, the nation clung to the dream of returning to its Land.
These passionate yearnings for return finally gave birth to the practical ideas and political organizations which, amid the storms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, launched the mass movement for the Return to Zion and for restored Jewish national independence. Upheld and fortified in dispersion and adversity by the vision of an ultimate return, the Jewish people did not forsake its homeland or forgo its links with it. The Jewish people has kept faith with its Land, and the Land in turn has kept faith with the Jewish people.
The bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel also found expression as a matter of course in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The Preamble to the Mandate referred to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" and stressed "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and…the grounds for reconstituting"- I repeat, reconstituting – "their national home in that country."
In so doing, the League of Nations merely recognized that only one people in history has, for 3,000 years and more, preserved and maintained its unbroken links with the Holy Land. That people is the Jewish people.
No amount of nay-saying will erase this fact. The truth will not be gainsaid. History cannot be denied.
Everything I have said holds true with especial force with regard to Jerusalem. Jerusalem has known many foreign rulers during the course of its long history but none of them ever regarded it as their capital. Only the Jewish people has always regarded it as the centre and sole focus of its national and spiritual life. Since modern population statistics first became available in the early nineteenth century those statistics have consistently shown the existence of an uninterrupted Jewish majority among the city's residents. At the end of the British Mandate in 1948, Jews accounted for about two-thirds of the population of Jerusalem. In round terms, this ratio has been maintained ever since.
Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish people. And it has also been the capital of the State of Israel since the restoration of our national independence more than three decades ago. And so it will remain.
I mentioned earlier the supposed connexion between Arab oil and the question before us. With the world's growing dependence on Arab oil, the Arab petro-hegemonists have asserted this connexion and have blatantly begun to blackmail the world, threatening to strangle its economy if the destructive aims of the PLO are not satisfied. As a result, we have witnessed in recent months a sorry parade of nations, great and small, trying to supplicate the Arab oil gods. These nations seem to think that adopting positions which put Israel's security at risk is a cheap price to pay in an attempt to placate the Arab petro-hegemonists.
Some 40 years ago, a small, peace-loving and democratic State in the heart of Europe was sacrificed – allegedly in the name of self-determination and ostensibly for the sake of "peace with honour". What ensued was neither peace nor honour, and the entire world paid a heavy price for that cynical appeasement and short-sighted stance. That dismal lesson has not been lost on Israel, even if others choose to forget it.
What then are the conditions for a balanced United Nations approach to the solution of the Arab-Israel conflict?
First, the United Nations must return to the world of reality. In the process, it must also give up its hypocritical stand and stop applying double-standards on everything to do with this conflict.
Secondly, the facts, the real facts, of the conflict in all its aspects must be admitted. It must be recognized that the Palestinian Arabs have long enjoyed self-determination and that an Arab State exists in Palestine – namely, the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan – alongside the Palestinian Jewish State of Israel.
Thirdly, it must be recognized that the core of the problem has always been and remains the denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and national sovereignty in its ancestral homeland.
Fourthly, and finally, the General Assembly must recognize that one–sided and biased resolutions designed to bypass Security Council resolution 242 (1967) will not bring peace any closer. Resolutions and declarations bulldozed through the General Assembly solve nothing.
This simple truth was stated clearly by a distinguished representative in the Security Council on 29 March 1954, when he observed:
"You can submit whatever resolutions you like. But life does not call for resolutions; it calls for decisions which can promote the settlement of important international questions which are still outstanding.
"What is the proper method for this? The method is that of direct negotiation between the interested parties. On one side we have the representative of Israel and on the other the representative of Egypt they are sitting opposite one another. Let them sit down together at one table and try to settle the questions which the Security Council cannot settle now. I am deeply convinced that they can find a better solution. That is why certain representatives and States show a stubborn disinclination to permit direct negotiations between the interested parties and are trying to interfere in and, unfortunately, to hinder those negotiations." (S/PV.664, paras. 95 and 96)
The man who spoke those words was Andrei Vyshinksy of the Soviet Union. Since that date in 1954 Israel and Egypt have negotiated and have made peace. This same option is open to all of Israel's neighbours. Indeed, it is the only constructive option open to them. For the undeniable fact is that the Arab States and their supporters who have initiated this phoney event can engage as much as they like in verbal warfare here at the United Nations. Given the parliamentary situation in this Assembly, they may even be able to push through whatever resolutions they like.
But these can only be Pyrrhic victories. Those who seem to think that an excess of repetitive Assembly resolutions adopted by largo automatic majorities create "rights' or make binding obligations' or even international law are deluding themselves, and those who seem to think that an orgy of special reports, special committees, special missions, special sessions, special units, special forces and special agencies can resolve anything have lost touch with reality. There is nothing special or magical about any of these. In the final analysis, they will not change anything on the ground. They will not bring the course of peace any closer.
Only when the Arabs exhibit a genuine willingness to make peace, or rather a willingness to make genuine peace, only when they sit down and negotiate with Israel on the basis of recognition and mutual respect, will a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israel conflict in all its aspects be achieved.
It is my distinct privilege to represent here in this Organization one of the oldest nations on earth. In our long history we have repeatedly been assailed by those who are opposed to the ideals and values which the Jewish people has bequeathed to mankind and which we have epitomized in our very being. Never in our long history have we been confounded by the overwhelming odds confronting us. Never in our long history have we been intimidated into forsaking the values that we stand for or into compromising our national integrity.
We will not be in any way deterred by the cacophonous chorus of our detractors or by the forest of arms raised in support of immoral and unfair resolutions flying in the face of truth and justice. It surely would be absurd to think that a people with the past and depth of experience of my people can be browbeaten by the howls of cynics, bigots, hypocrites and opportunists.
Israel will not be deflected. Israel will not give up its resolve. Israel will continue undeterred in the current peace process and in its determined efforts to bring about a comprehensive peace in our region.
Mr. KUSUMAATMADJA (Indonesia): Mr. President, permit me at the outset to express my delegation's great satisfaction at your election to the presidency of the seventh emergency special session of the General Assembly. It is also a source of pleasure for me personally to see you residing over our deliberations. It is most fitting that one renowned for his commitment to the cause of peace and the promotion of co-operation among nations, as well as for his deep dedication to the work of our Organization, should lead us during the current session.
For more than three decades the problem of the Middle East, of which the question of Palestine is the core, has occupied a central place in the attention of our Organization. Hundreds of resolutions and decisions have been adopted and many diplomatic initiatives undertaken, always in the hope that it would be Possible to resolve the problem. However, the situation in that region has been continuously deteriorating, in particular with the recent adoption by Israel of a series of actions which has rendered a peaceful solution to the dispute increasingly intractable. The responsibility for such a situation rests squarely with Israel for its continued defiance of the international community in denying the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
The delegation of Indonesia therefore supported the request for the convening of an emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider the question of Palestine and to deal with Israel's continuing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people and the threats that those violations pose to international peace and security. Fr delegation has listened carefully to the previous statements made during this session and we fully share the concern expressed at the deterioration of the situation in the occupied Arab territories. We believe that this increasingly dangerous situation calls for serious consideration by this Assembly and the adoption of effective measures.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, of which Indonesia is a member, has continued to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights,as recognized and defined by the General Assembly. It is obvious to all that the manner in which the Committee carried out its task was characterized by objectivity and impartiality. Notwithstanding the great complexity of the problems and the existence of greatly diverging views, it has made steadfast efforts to reach compromise solutions. Adopting a persistent problem-solving, approach, the Committee has devoted its efforts towards making progress which could be expected to serve the interests of all the parties concerned. Thus the Committee, in recognizing the basic concern of Israel, refers in its first report to a proposal that the Security Council not only should demand the urgent withdrawal of Israel from the Arab territories occupied since 1967 but also could provide international guarantees for the security of all States in the Middle East. My delegation regards the proposals and recommendations contained in the Committee's report as constructive and realistic in their effort to find means whereby progress towards peace could be achieved and redress could be granted the Palestinian people, who have been subjected to injustice for more than three decades.
At the same time the reports of both that Committee and the Commission established by the Security Council point to a number of disturbing developments. As those documents make clear, Israel has intensified its violations of the national rights of the Palestinian people by authorizing the establishment of new settlements aimed at effecting irreversible demographic, cultural, social and religious changes, by a policy of repression designed to deny the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and sovereignty and by refusing to withdraw from illegally occupied territories. Another aspect of Israeli policy, as we learn from those reports, is the implementation of all kinds of economic, legislative and financial measures intended to bring about the forced departure of the Arab inhabitants from their homeland. Furthermore, the recent meeting of the Security Council on Jerusalem has highlighted Israel's intention to annex the Holy City. It is therefore becoming increasingly clear that in defying universal condemnation, Israel's motive is that of a gradual annexation of occupied territories through demographic, religious, economic and other measures. Those policies and measures to carry them out have a detrimental impact on the local population and the territory, and have contributed to a dangerous situation which is incompatible with the search for peace in the area.
In the light of these considerations it is futile to refer to the lack of Palestinian conciliation as a reason for the lack of progress in the peace process. In both human and material terms the Palestinians have paid an unbearably heavy price as a result of Israel's occupation. Despite their indescribable sufferings and the gigantic scale of their loses, the Palestinians have shown their steadfastness and determination. It should be realized, however, that if peaceful measures are exhausted – and that is what a failure of this session in that respect would mean – then there will inevitably be more determined efforts to redress injustice and humiliation.
It has been universally recognized that the Middle East question is founded on fundamental principles which have been endorsed by the General Assembly, namely: first, that the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East problem and consequently no solution can be envisaged which does not take into account the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to establish its own State; secondly, that the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people is an indispensable element in all deliberations; thirdly, that there should be an unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Israel from all territories occupied since 1967 fourthly, that all countries in the region, including the future Palestinian State, have the right to live in peace within recognized and secure boundaries,; and fifthly, that the pluralistic society and religious diversity of the Holy City of Jerusalem should be maintained and that unilateral measures for changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and status of the Holy City should be opposed. In sum, the issue of the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people is the core of the Middle East problem and there can be no peace in the area so long as those rights are denied. That is the only realistic basis for achieving a just and lasting peace in the region.
That is increasingly being recognized by other members of the international community. On 13 June the European Economic Community issued a declaration following its conference in Venice, in which it called upon Israel to refrain from taking any action which would change the status of Jerusalem and condemned Israel's modifications of property and population in the occupied Arab territories as illegal under international law. More importantly, the Nine recognized the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to exercise fully its right to self–determination in the framework of a comprehensive peace settlement. The Nine reaffirmed its position in a statement issued on 29 June, which called for a homeland for the Palestinian people as a necessity. In view of such growing support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, it is incumbent upon Israel to take a more realistic attitude in order to facilitate a solution.
However, despite the growing consensus on the principles of a Middle East settlement, it must be admitted that the situation is worsening and has become more explosive. The veto has often immobilized the Security Council in the face of meaningful proposals that would have been useful to break the stalemate. Furthermore, the unwillingness and the inability to work together and come to grips with the worsening Middle East problem has led us to the present impasse. It is sad to note that for too long the Middle East conflict has been used in the political ball game between the major Powers, and within some of those Powers themselves.
I cannot fail to believe that even Israel does not harbour any illusions about the possibility of achieving a just and lasting peace in the area as long as its forces are still occupying Arab territories. It is the return of all occupied Arab territories to their rightful owners which will pave the way towards the secure boundaries to which Israel aspires. We hope that Israel will adopt decisions commensurate with the dimensions of the problem and not endanger the future through measures which will irrevocably lead to failure.
Indonesia, therefore, joins others in calling upon Israel to make positive gestures before it is too late and to resolve the conflict peacefully. What is needed is a courageous political vision and an awareness of the urgent need to bring about a just and peaceful solution. Israel can hardly demand recognition of its right to exist,if at the same time, it denies the right of the Palestinian people to establish their State. This was also eloquently stated by Mrs. Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, during the debate in the House of Commons on 16 June, as follows:
"If one people expects to exist behind secure boundaries it cannot deny that right to another people. What one asks for oneself one must be prepared to accord to others. That is exactly what we are saying."
It is a simple truism that no nation can expect of another the recognition of a right which it denies to others. We therefore urge the Government of Israel to recognize a free and independent Palestinian State as its neighbour. We hope that it is still possible for reason and common sense to prevail.
In conclusion, our deliberations during this emergency special session are taking place at a most crucial phase of the Middle East problem and may well decide the destiny of that region. There is no question that the Palestinians will refuse to accept as permanent conditions which are unjust and which have been imposed upon them. Specific and concrete action should no longer be delayed. The General Assembly is in duty bound to take the necessary measures that will effectively lead to a situation in which there is respect for law and peace.
Hay this Assembly, which meets under the banner of "Uniting for Peace", be united in taking positive action to bring about a just and lasting peace in The Middle East.
Mr. KLESTIL (Austria): The world has become too narrow a place for us to contemplate with tranquillity the continuation of a conflict that not only has pitted the most violent feelings of two peoples against each other, but has far-reaching repercussions and, indeed, harbours a threat to the security and peace of the international community as a whole.
This is illustrated by the fact that, out of 58 meetings of the Security Council in the first half of 1980, 33 were devoted to questions relating to the Middle East. It becomes all the more apparent when one looks beyond the narrow confines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and perceives the danger inherent in this conflict for the destabilization of the whole region.
For historical and geographical reasons, Europe's relations with the Middle East have been and will be close and intense. We are convinced that Europe needs co-operation with that region, where today old civilizations are experiencing an intellectual and economic renaissance. Events of recent months have also shown how volatile the political situation in that area is and,in our opinion,it is in everybody's proper interest to keep it free from foreign interference and truly non-aligned. A precondition for fruitful and mutually advantageous relations is the stability of the region and so, therefore, is a final and lasting solution of the Middle East conflict.
The past has seen many efforts to find this solution within the framework of the United Nations, in the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as outside through direct political initiatives. So far, all of them have failed to bring a solution nearer to our reach. We do not wish to belittle here the achievements of the Camp David accords, which started a process of peace that is now a reality and has a momentum of its own. The further steps, however, which are necessary for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace have not been forthcoming and, at the present time,doubts seem justified as to whether they will be achieved in the future.
Austria is convinced that any lasting solution to the Middle East conflict will have to do full justice to the following elements:
First of all, the recognition of the right of all States in the area to exist within safe and secure boundaries and a recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people. The key word, whenever we speak of a solution to the Middle East conflict is that it has to be just; and justice will have to be done to the Palestinian people, a people that has been left homeless and dispersed and denied its most basic rights for too many years now.
An international consensus has developed on the rights of the Palestinian people, a consensus not only among the non-aligned nations, but also among the nations of Western Europe. This special session should contribute to strengthening that international consensus.
As the second point, a people like the Palestinian people does not need others to speak on its behalf and should not be forced into accepting them, And those it has chosen, to whom it has entrusted its political future, are the only ones that should and can negotiate on its behalf, The Austrian Government, for its part, has recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people.
The third essential element of any solution is the withdrawal of Israel from the territories occupied in 1967. Austria fully joins the international consensus that Israel's policy with regard to the occupied territories not only is in contravention of established norms of international law, but further aggravates the situation and further endangers the prospects for a negotiated settlement.
Especially over the past months, violence has escalated in the occupied territories and the resentment and resistance of the population have risen to a critical point. In the Security Council we had the opportunity to hear the voice of the population of the West Bank, when the Mayors of Hebron and Halhoul addressed the Council, and we have also heard an increasingly doubtful and critical voice from within Israel and the Jewish world community itself. Those voices will finally have to be listened to.
Austria is still of the opinion that a comprehensive settlement can best be achieved by negotiations among all parties directly involved and that direct talks without any precondition between the two parties most intimately and directly concerned – that is, Israel and the PLO – will have to be initiated. We are fully aware of the obstacles in this path, but we still believe that with a genuine desire to solve this tragic conflict, those obstacles can be overcome.
Austria has close and friendly relations with all the countries involved in the conflict. With regard to Israel, we remember in particular that it has provided a home for many victims of persecution. With the Arab world we are united through a multitude of historical and cultural ties. We know that is not easy to reverse a process of mutual fear and distrust, but we also know that is a highly dangerous illusion for any party in the conflict to believe that advantageous results can be more easily obtained by force or confrontation, rather than at the negotiating table. Austria has lived through the painful realization that those who do not learn from history will be condemned to repeat it. On the basis of this realization we hope that the political will and the political courage will be found to break the vicious circle which has cast that region into turmoil for so long.
Mr. THUNBORG (Sweden): For all too long the peoples of the Middle East have been deprived of the right to live in peace and dignity, free from fear and need. Recent disturbing events and acts of violence in the occupied West Bank as well as the hostilities in war-torn Lebanon have unmistakably demonstrated once again that the Palestine question is at the centre of the Middle Past conflict. Moreover this conflict is clearly affecting international peace and security. A just solution of the Palestine question is the obvious prerequisite for a lasting peace in the area.
The participation of the United Nations in the creation of the State of Israel and, for more than 30 years, its involvement in the question of Palestine confers upon the Organization a responsibility in the search for an equitable and durable peace settlement. That involvement is, moreover, in our view absolutely vital to a resolution of the conflict. It is in this perspective that I. wish to make "lie following remarks.
After thousands of years of persecution and exile, the Jewish people found a haven in Israel and created a democratic country. It is a tragic irony of history that the Jewish people should deprive another people, the Palestinians, of precisely that for which they, themselves, have struggled so much, namely, self-determination, national identity and a land of their own.
All friends of Israeli democracy and Sweden is among them must also note with sorrow that Israel is currently pursuing a policy of occupation on the West Bank and in Gaza which not only contravenes international law, but also runs entirely counter to the democratic principles which we hold to be fundamental.
It is no less tragic that the Palestinians, in the pursuit of their legitimate national rights, should resort to violence. As has been so woefully demonstrated earlier this year, violence inevitably breeds counter-violence. Experience also shows that armed force does not lead to peace and security in this area. No efforts must therefore be spared to attain a just and lasting negotiated settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.
Any such settlement must satisfy two central requirements. One is Israel's right to continued existence within secure and recognized borders. The other is the recognition of the Palestinians' legitimate national rights, including their right should they so wish – to establish a State of their on, living in peace side by side with Israel. In accordance with these principles, the Palestinians must recognize the right of Israel to exist, as Israel must recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and statehood.
Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) must continue to be the foundation for a peaceful settlement. Any detraction from this foundation can only be detrimental to the peace process. It has long been obvious, however, that these resolutions must be supplemented by the Security Council's recognition of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and of their right of determine their own future.
Furthermore, a final peace settlement can be comprehensive and lasting only if all parties concerned, including the PLO as the most representative Palestinian organization, participate in it. The Palestinians must be represented in all negotiations concerning their own future. A settlement in the Middle East conflict cannot be reached by force, but by peaceful negotiations and through concessions and compromises by all the parties involved, including the PLO.
The peace agreement attained between Egypt and Israel was, in our view, an important step towards breaking the vicious circle of violence and hatred in the Middle East. However, no comprehensive solution of the conflict in the Middle East can be within reach unless all the parties concerned negotiate and fully resolve the central issue, which is the Palestine question. Thus the negotiations between Egypt, Israel and the United States on so-called full autonomy for the Palestinians have brought no concrete results so far. Israel's narrow interpretation of "full autonomy", compounded by the provocative continuation and extension of the Israeli settlements policy, which is in clear violation of international law, and we urge the Government of Israel to call a halt to it. We are also of the opinion that Israel's apparent claims of sovereignty over the occupied territories render a peaceful solution even more difficult.
In this connexion, the problem of Jerusalem deserves particular mention. We fully recognize the profoundly religious and political significance attached to Jerusalem by all the parties concerned. We also recognize the necessity of determining the status of the city of Jerusalem in a comprehensive peace settlement. Such an agreement on the city's status – as stated in the recent Venice declaration of the European Community d should guarantee freedom of access of everyone to the Holy Places. Let me add that the special status and international regime of Jerusalem has been defined by resolutions of the second, third and fourth sessions of the General Assembly. My Government has supported those resolutions, as well as relevant Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem. We have also maintained that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 applies also to that part of Jerusalem occupied in 1967. In order not to complicate further an already delicate situation, the Israeli authorities must therefore scrupulously avoid all unilateral measures designed to change the status of Jerusalem.
As stated at the outset, the question of Palestine lies at the very heart of the Middle East conflict. Only if the Palestine question is resolved in all its aspects can we hope to end the conflict raging in that area. Only then can this threat to world peace and security finally be removed. It is our sincere hope that the present emergency special session of the General Assembly will make a concrete contribution towards that goal.
Mr. RAMOS (Peru) (interpretation from Spanish): I should like to express to you, Mr. President, my delegation's pleasure at your presidency of this seventh emergency special session of the General Assembly; this carries with it recognition of your authority and ability effectively to conduct our work, as you have done on previous occasions.
There can be no doubt that the convening of another emergency session less than six months after the special session which considered the question of Afghanistan demonstrates the seriousness of the crisis in international relations and the paltry progress which has been made in the promotion of peace and security. Indeed, instead of progress we are witnessing a return to the tensions of the cold war and to the reappearance of confrontations.
Our presence in this Assembly is a demonstration of the concern with which the Government of Peru regards the worsening of the international situation, resulting from the lack of political will to put into practice the principles enshrined in the Magna Carta of the United Nations. Thus Peru stands in solidarity with all efforts undertaken by the international community to solve those problems which threaten the maintenance of international peace and security, and in this spirit once again joins with the great majority of nations, which have expressed their will to co-operate and to promote any action aimed at the just resolution of the Palestine question within the context of relevant resolutions of the United Nations and in conformity with the principles of international law. In this connexion, Peru has staunchly supported international co-operation on the basis of the respect for the sovereign equality of all States and of solidarity with developing peoples. Also, our status as a member country of the Non-Aligned Movement, respectful of an essentially non-bloc stance and of its fundamental principles, lead us to co-operate in the consolidation of peace and in understanding among nations.
This is why we deeply regret what is happening in the Middle East, as well as in other hotbeds of international tension. We believe that this session should conclude with the adoption of decisions which reflect this Organization's concern at the paralysis gripping the process of would détente as a whole and which will put an end to expansionist attempts which are in contravention of the principles of the peaceful coexistence of States. We consider that our discussions should facilitate agreement on a solution which will be equitable for all parties, will enshrine the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, will guarantee the sovereignty and independence of all the States of the region as well as their legitimate right to live in conditions of peace and security, and will ensure unrestricted respect for the special status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The Government of Peru knows that it shares the responsibility of the international community to resolve the question of Palestine so as to ensure peace in the Middle East region. Therefore, we support the validity of the numerous resolutions adopted by this Organization, and we were honoured in 1975 to take part in the United Nations Emergency Force.
Similarly, we consider that this responsibility must be fully shared by all members of the international community, without ideological limitations or restrictions. Thus, any initiatives or negotiations which would contribute to the consolidation of a stable and lasting peace through an adequate beginning of dialogue, should be fully supported by this Assembly.
The complexity of the factors involved in the Middle East conflict connect it with tensions in other regions of the world, but also with the process of détente between the great Powers. No one, however, can ignore the fact that the central question in this case is the Palestinian cause and that it will be difficult to find a peaceful, integral settlement of the conflict if the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is not taken into consideration. It is also clear that the solution to the problem must be based on collective action undertaken by common will and unhampered by any attempts or actions which would weaken the national identity of the States of the region. The achievement of this solution would be the best historical vindication of the validity of the United Nations Charter, of the principles enshrined in it and of the decisions adopted by Member States for the maintenance of peace.
Certainly, all this requires a principled commitment and a true respect for the rights of all. This describes the position of Peru, which in a few days will return to the path of constitutional normalcy with the installation of a new civilian Government, freely elected by the free, majority will of the Peruvian people. That people understands that the problem of the Palestinian people is vast and acute and requires of us realistic formulas, and shared and united efforts to achieve a comprehensive solution which will permit peaceful coexistence and co-operation between communities whose age-old civilizations have given so much to the world in culture, the practice of tolerance and the search for peace.
The meeting rose at 1.25 p.m.
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Document Type: Meeting record
Document Sources: General Assembly, General Assembly 7th Emergency Special Session
Subject: Agenda Item, Palestine question
Publication Date: 23/07/1980