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Committee on Rights of                               Press Release GA/PAL/17

 Palestinian People                                  22 April 1976

13th Meeting (AM)



     The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, continuing its general debate, heard statements this morning by the representatives of Tunisia, the League of Arab States, and Cuba. The representative of the League of Arab States spoke as an observer.

     Before adjourning the meeting so that the Committee could continue its

closed informal discussions, the Chairman, Medoune Fall (Senegal), in response

to a question by the representative of Tunisia as to when the informal discussions would be ended and the work of the Committee taken up in publicmeetings, said that the Committee should discuss this point during its closed session this morning.

     Statements Made

     RACHID DRISS (Tunisia), referring to recent demonstrations by Christian

and Moslem Palestinians against the discriminatory expropriatory measures

of the Israeli authorities for the benefit of the Jewish population, asked

how anyone could fail to understand why these people refused to give up their

homes and land for perpetual refugee status.  The Palestinians had never

given up their fundamental and inalienable rights, and it was only by fully

realizing these rights that a definitive solution to the 30-year situation

in the Middle East could be found, he said.

     Seeking a solution through the recognition of Israel was a "simplistic"

view which failed to take account of the profound causes of the Palestinian

tragedy, he went on.  How could Israel and its allies continue to call for

this recognition when Israel continued to appropriate additional Palestinian

land and to establish new Israeli settlements, he asked.

     Security Council resolution 242 (1967), adopted in the aftermath of the

1967 war, was based on a defective equation: that peace depended on recognition, evacuation of occupied lands, and a solution to the refugee problem, Mr. Driss said.  This equation left out the fourth and most essential element to peace in the Middle East, that of the fate of the Palestinian people themselves, he declared.

     Referring to the recent municipal elections in the West Bank, he said

that the Palestinian people had awakened world public opinion to this

fact and to the true intentions of Israel.

     Likening the situation in Palestine to that in Namibia and Rhodesia,

he said that the Palestinians had no choice but to continue their liberation

struggle.  However, he went on, the situation in the Middle East was

more complex than other colonial situations because the United Nations,

troubled by the "Jewish problem" at the end of the Second World War, had

partitioned Palestine on racial and religious criteria, thus satisfying

the Zionists, but creating problems for the non-Jews which led to four

wars in the area.

     Speaking of Israel's military arsenal, which he said was one of the

more sophisticated in the world, he said that it was about to be increased

by the acquisition of nuclear arms.  This would not lead to security,

however, he warned, because others could acquire similar weapons and,

besides, the Middle East was such a small area that the danger from such

weapons was equal for all.

     For these reasons, a solution to the problem had to lie in the establishment of a secular and democratic??? State, with co-habitation of the peoples of the area on a non-discriminatory basis which was the spirit of

the United Nations Charter.

     Referring to a proposal before the Security Council last January, he

said that this document contained the basis for a Middle East peace, recognizing the rights of the Palestinians, calling for the establishment of a

sovereign State in Palestine and the withdrawal of occupying forces along

with necessary guarantees for maintaining the peace.  However, Mr. Driss

said, the draft resolution had not passed because of one vote out of 15.

     While the Committee was considering a two-phase programme of return

for the Palestinian refugees for practical reasons, he said, it should not

lose sight of the principles involved and contained in General Assembly

resolution 194 (III) which was the key to a just solution.  Referring to

General Assembly resolution 181 (II), the representative of Tunisia said

that, despite drawbacks to this resolution, it should not be ignored by the

Committee because that resolution contained the juridical support and legal

framework for the solution.

     The Committee, in making its recommendations, should emphasize that

Israel should immediately cease its transfer of property from Palestinians,

and that as soon as the first phase of the two-phase return is completed

the United Nations should provide economic and technical assistance proportional to the sufferings of the Palestinians.

     Even a solution based on resolution 181 would not resolve all the

problems, but it would establish a foundation for peace and co-habitation of

the peoples of the area, something that was in the interests not only of the

region but of mankind as a whole, he concluded.

     AMIN HELMY II (League of Arab States), speaking as an observer,

recalled that the United Nations had been established to insure peace and

security which had been shattered by World War II, and had been based on,

among other things, the principles of self-determination, independence and

sovereignty for all peoples.  While this had been achieved in many places,

universality had not yet been established: Palestine, Namibia, Zimbabwe,

and others were still not Members of the Organization.  Of all of these

cases, he said, that of Palestine was the most serious because not only

were the people deprived of their inalienable rights but also of their

homes and land.

     The United Nations, he said, bore a great responsibility for this

tragedy because of two mistakes it had made: the Partition Plan and the

admission to membership of Israel, an aggressor State.

     The Partition Plan had ceded most of the land area including most of

the fertile land to the European Jewish settlers, but, despite this original

injustice, the Zionists had continued to expand their State at the expense

of the Arabs, he said.

     The United Nations, realizing the tragic implications of its Partition

Plan, had recognized the right of the refugees to return to their homes

in resolution 194 (III), but Israel openly flouted this resolution, he

said, adding that, despite Israel's "illegal, irresponsible position", it

was admitted to membership, a fact he termed the second mistake the United

Nations made in handling the situation.

     For the first 20 years, the United Nations did not address itself to

the real problems in the area — that of the refugees and of Israel's

flouting of various United Nations resolutions — so that the situation

continued to deteriorate and the Organization finally realized that it

could not treat the Palestinian people through its humanitarian offices

only, and in General Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX) began to address

itself to the core of the problem, the restoration of the inalienable rights

of the Palestinian people, he said.

     The task before the Committee was complex, he said, because of Zionist

intransigence, but a solution was feasible because of the international

consensus recognizing the rights of the Palestinians, calling for equal

participation by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in all inter-

national peace efforts as recognition of the fact that these rights were

inseparable from any lasting peace in the area.

     The Security Council, he went on, should establish machinery to insure

that the rights of the Palestinians were protected, and it should empower

that machinery with the necessary authority to enable it to function effectively.

     RICARDO ALARCON DE QUESADA (Cuba) said that the Committee had been give

precise guidelines by the General Assembly on the inalienable rights of

the Palestinians and that the Committee's task was to organize a specific

programme of action within these guidelines.

     He was sure that the Committee's working group would come up with such

a programme, he said, but he was equally sure that obstacles would be

raised to any such programme by the forces of imperialism and colonialism.

For this reason, the peoples of Africa, Asia, and South American saw their

own struggles mirrored in the Middle East, he said, making references to

recent improvements in the relations between Israel and South Africa.

     The obligation of the Security Council and its permanent members was

clear, the representative of Cuba said: to ensure that Israel and its allies

implemented the relevant United Nations resolutions on the question.

     Calling for equal participation of the PLO in all peace efforts, he

said that the forces of imperialism were trying to isolate that organization

through manipulation of public opinion in the capitalistic countries.

The United Nations, in its turn, should mobilize world public opinion and

strengthen international solidarity with the Palestinian people through

co-operation with various trade union, economic, and social organizations

within the countries supporting the Zionists, he concluded, calling for

the next session of the General Assembly to be the turning point for such

a "truly universal effort".

* *** *

Document symbol: GA/PAL/17
Document Type: Meeting record, Meeting records
Document Sources: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
Subject: Palestine question
Publication Date: 22/04/1976