FOURTH UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO
MEETING ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
PALAIS DES NATIONS, GENEVA,
7-9 SEPTEMBER 1987
Panel discussion A
Panel Discussion B
I. Declaration of the NGOs at the Fourth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine
II. A. Workshop reports
B. Reports of special-issue groups
III. Statement by the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
IV. Statement by Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
V. Report of the 1986-1987 International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
VI. 1987-1989 International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
VII. List of participants and observers
The Fourth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine was held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 7 to 9 September 1987. The Meeting took place in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 40/96 B of 12 December 1985. It was attended by representatives of 123 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as participants and 153 as observers, as well as by a large number of other observers from Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations bodies and liberation movements.
Mr. Massamba Sarre (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and leader of the Committee delegation, opened the proceedings and Mr. Alberto Velazco-San Jose (Cuba) closed the Meeting on behalf of the Committee. The opening session was addressed by Mr. Diego Cordovez, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs and representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, by Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Mr. Donald Betz, Chairman of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine (see annexes III, IV and V).
A keynote address was given by Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II (United States of America). Messages of solidarity were read out on behalf of Mr. Chadli Benjedid, President of Algeria, Mr. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Mr. Chedli Klibi, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and on behalf of the Indian National Congress and the Indian Youth Congress.
The work of the Meeting was conducted in panel discussions, in workshops and special-issue groups. Two panels were established and presentations were made by a number of experts as indicated below:
A. The need for and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C
The first session of the panel was chaired by Mr. Massamba Sarre and heard presentations from the following experts: Mr. M.S. Agwani (India); Mr. Gordon Bilney (Australia); Mr. Peter Jankowitsch (Austria); Mr. Heath N. MacQuarrie (Canada); and Mr. Vladimir Vinogradov (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The second session of the panel heard presentations from the following experts:
Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (Palestinian); Mr. Shafiq Al-Rout (Palestinian); Mr. Mattityahu Peled (Israel); and Mr. Tawfiq Zayyad (Palestinian).
B. Palestinian political and human rights
The expert panelists under this topic were: Mr. Hatem Abu-Ghazaleh (Palestinian); Mr. Latif Dori (Israel); Ms. Raymonda Tawil (Israel); and Mr. Amnon Zichroni (Israel).
Workshops were also held on the following topics:
(a) Mobilization of public opinion;
(b) Creative arts and the Palestinian struggle for national identity;
(c) Community development and relief work;
(d) Mobilizing the international peace movement for a nuclear- weapon-free Middle East.
The leaders of these workshops are listed in annex VII.
In addition, 12 special-issue groups were formed to discuss specific action proposals by NGOs interested in particular topics related to the question of Palestine. They considered the following topics: (a) nuclearization and the Vanunu trial; (b) solidarity committees; (c) women and women's tours; (d) Jerusalem Hospice Hospital; (e) Seizure by Israel of Palestinians and others in international zones; (f) Image of Arabs in popular culture and education; (q) Iran-Iraq war and the question of Palestine; (h) opposing expropriation laws; (i) support for bedouin; (j) support for Al-Hakawati Theatre and Cultural Centre; (k) twinning of cities; and (1) public opinion polls co-ordinated study.
The reports of those workshops and special issue groups that were presented to the plenary are contained in annex II. A number of regional caucus meetings also took place.
Opening the Meeting, Mr. Sarre stressed that Mr. Arafat's presence and contribution to the deliberations of the proceedings would be of particular significance and inspiration. He regretted that no agreement had yet been reached concerning convening of the proposed International Peace Conference on the Middle East despite the untiring efforts made by the international community at all levels. He paid particular tribute to the efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General in this regard. Mr. Sarre referred to a number of vigorous activities undertaken by the non-governmental community that had brought broad-based international attention to the question of Palestine. The Committee, as required by the General Assembly, stood ready to respond to any proposals that would emanate from the meeting.
A message from Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was delivered by Mr. Diego Cordovez, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs who represented the Secretary-General at the Meeting (see annex III).
Mr. Donald Betz, Chairman of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine (ICCP), recalled that 1987 had been designated "The Year of the Palestinian People" by the NGO community. It was thus time to re-examine and re-evaluate the NGO connection with the United Nations system while they chartered their own course in world politics (see annex V).
Mr. Yasser Arafat, in his address to the meeting declared that the Palestinian people would continue in its resolute efforts to bring about a just, durable and comprehensive peace in Palestine and in the Middle East. The Palestinian people insisted on the convening of the International Peace Conference under United Nations auspices and on the basis of international legality (see annex IV for full text).
A. The need for and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C
Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, II (United States) delivered the keynote address on this topic in the course of which he expressed the view that serious negotiations could take place only with the participation of all interested parties. To exclude the chosen representatives of the displaced Palestinians would deprive them of a voice in their own destiny. He added that the refusal of the United States to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians undoubtedly hindered that country's ability to act as a credible broker of peace in the Middle East.
He stressed that the deranged acts of individuals or splinter groups should not diminish the credibility of all Palestinians. In his view, terrorism was the single largest obstacle blocking peace in the region. He had always, and would continue, to condemn it, whether it be State-sponsored or individually inspired.
He called upon all parties to put an immediate stop to terrorism.
The ongoing pursuit of peace in the Middle East could be best effected through an International Peace Conference under the auspices of the Security Council. The resolutions adopted by the Security Council relevant to the Palestine question were fair and binding. He called upon all parties to accept and abide by them. He believed that they represented the best framework for peace and could provide the necessary guidelines from which to proceed. The Palestinians needed and deserved a homeland of their own, and they had the right, to return to their homes and property under General Assembly resolution 194 (III).
Mr. Vinogradov (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) pointed to an urgent need to rectify the injustice done to the Palestinian people and to end the occupation. The protracted Middle East conflict impeded normal development of the States in the region, including Israel, since it forced them to waste huge sums on armaments and to divert material and human resources to confrontation.
Arab States and the PLO stood for political settlement by peaceful means. The world community also favoured such an approach. A concrete programme based on United Nations decisions, international law and historical justice had been developed to that end. Israel, however, had not advanced any programme for a just settlement. Yet, the people of Israel needed peace as well as security. Finding ways and means to work out mutually acceptable peace solutions had long been the major task.
Experience had shown that an International Conference was the best means of settling multilateral conflicts touching upon numerous issues. Splitting the work of such a Conference into bilateral negotiations would hamper the search for mutually acceptable solutions and a comprehensive settlement.
The only way to ensure equality on all sides was through the format of an International Conference held under the auspices of the United Nations in accordance with the proposal made in the Declaration of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine (1983), repeatedly endorsed by the General Assembly and now supported overwhelmingly by the international community. This was due in part to the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and of NGOs.
The Soviet Union has proposed the establishment of a preparatory committee comprising the permanent members of the Security Council to resolve various procedural issues and to proceed practically towards convening the conference. However, this proposal had not found general support. Israel and the United States continued to insist on bilateral negotiations and to deny the right of the PLO to participate in the Conference. In addition, statements had been made opposing the participation of the Soviet Union because of the absence of diplomatic relations with Israel. Both, however had participated at the conference on the Middle East in Geneva in 1973.
Mr. Bilney (Australia) stressed the role of parliamentarians such as himself in influencing public opinion. The obstacles to peace in the Middle East had to be confronted realistically. After almost 40 years, practically no progress had been made towards resolving the Arab/Israeli dispute. He traced the political background leading up to the proposal for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. That proposal as endorsed by the General Assembly contained elements which had prevented Australia from supporting it. It was Australia's view that any comprehensive and durable peaceful settlement required recognition of the right of States in the region to secure and defensible national boundaries; return of territory occupied by Israel in 1967 in return for meaningful guarantees for Israel's security; and resolution of the status of Jerusalem.
Wondering whether a conference under United Nations auspices had any less chance of success than the alternative – direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours – Mr. Bilney took the view that such a conference would provide a mechanism acceptable to Arab States and members of the Security Council. By contrast, he believed the prospects of another Camp David to be less promising.
Progress toward a settlement could be facilitated by an International Conference, provided that it led to a dialogue between the parties in a conference framework that would not prejudge the outcome of negotiations and would be acceptable to all potential participants.
While events of the past 40 years had made the situation increasingly difficult and reduced the chances of settlement, Mr. Bilney expressed the hope that a Conference might be convened. He noted that the Australian Prime Minister in a visit to the Middle East had noted changes in perceptions of the situation among both Arabs and Jews, which might lead to a psychological breakthrough.
Mr. Jankowitsch (Austria) said that the current situation in the Middle East presented the most dangerous crisis since the Second World War. Security Council resolution 242 (1967) had spelled out essential principles for a settlement, namely, the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force and common security of all States in the region. However, it had failed to address the Palestine question and to establish machinery to implement its recommendations. A new opportunity for lasting peace now existed within the framework of the proposed International Peace Conference.
He cautioned that while there was a near consensus regarding a Conference, nevertheless in both the Israeli and Palestinian camps there remained much division concerning the holding of a Conference at this time.
The major condition for the success of the Conference would be the participation of all the genuine parties to the conflict as well as others who could make a contribution to peace, in particular the permanent members of the Security Council. It was indispensable that the Soviet Union should have its place at the Conference table, as should European nations.
While Mr. Jankowitsch was attracted to the concept of the presence of a joint Palestinian/Jordanian delegation at the proposed negotiations, only the Palestinians themselves could make such a decision. The agenda of the Conference should be such as to result in agreements acceptable to all parties. The role of the United Nations remained vital, and he expressed the hope that prospects for the convening of the proposed Conference would not be compromised.
Mr. Macquarrie (Canada) emphasized the centrality of the Palestine question for peace in the Middle East. He observed that in the determination of the future of the Palestinians, no people should be more closely involved than the Palestinians themselves. Although they desired and deserved their own State it was unrealistic to conclude that such a State should comprise the whole of mandated Palestine. The goal should be the Palestinian State envisaged by the United Nations in 1947/1948.
He recalled that the role of Canada in the formulation of the partition plan had been important and influential. In recent years, Canadian government officials had expressed support for the right of the Palestinians to a homeland within a clearly defined territory, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
He believed that Canada and the other Western States which had supported two States in the old Palestine should now work for the setting up of the second state. Dialogue with Palestinians should be strengthened and improved, particularly by upgrading the level of contacts between Canadian and PLO officials.
In this regard an International Conference would provide a highly useful format for a solution to the problem. As a beginning, Israel must recognize the Palestinians and their right to a State, just as Palestinians must recognize Israel. He was of the belief that at the present juncture, multinational rather than bilateral negotiations would be a better and safer course of action for the Palestinians.
Mr. M. S. Agwani (India) stated that the experience of the past 39 years had proved that a military solution to the question of Palestine would be fraught with disastrous consequences not only for the region but for the entire world.
Summarizing Israeli military action since 1948, Mr. Agwani said that even though Israel had succeeded in expanding its territorial sway, its quest for security remained as elusive as ever. That had become clear after the October 1973 war and had resulted in the search for a political solution.
He was of the view that the Camp David accords represented a piecemeal approach to peace that stood discredited. Israel had established settlements in the occupied territories and launched repeated aggressions against its neighbours. The emphasis had once again shifted to a comprehensive peace settlement to be achieved through a properly structured International Peace Conference on the question of Palestine as called for by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which enjoyed overwhelming international support. Within the United States, Israel and the European Economic Community there had been unmistakable signs of loosening of resistance to the convening of an International Peace Conference. He also drew attention to the steadily growing peace movement within Israel which recognized the PLO as the representative organization of the Palestinian people and demanded restoration of the occupied territories to the Palestinians.
Mr. Abu-Lughod (Palestinian) recalled the history of dispossession of the Palestinian people and of the establishment of the State of Israel and the resulting long-standing conflict. Despite the inequality of power and although Israel had confiscated some 70 per cent of Palestinian land, it had nevertheless failed to impose its will on the Palestinian people. The Palestinians viewed Israel as a colonial Power which must be resisted and had committed themselves to the process of national liberation. It was only within that context that it would be possible for them to exercise their right to self-determination and thus achieve independence and sovereignty on their national soil.
He characterized Israeli policy as one of settler colonialism which in addition exploited human and natural resources particularly in relation to the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian people, under the leadership of the PLO, had pressed their quest for national liberation by all legitimate means but Israel and its allies had pursued a policy of negation of the Palestinians and their national rights. The position of the PLO on unilateral or bilateral peace initiatives needed to be fully understood as such initiatives were based on the premise of the negation of Palestinian national rights and aimed at the political and cultural destruction of the Palestinian people.
He stressed the urgency and necessity of bringing together all relevant parties to the conflict within the context of an International Conference. Otherwise, the militant resistance of the Palestinians would continue as long as Israel persisted in its policies of occupation of their national homeland. He hoped that Israel and its supporters had absorbed the meaning and implication of the wars of attrition, the 1973 war and the costly invasion of Lebanon. Only in the context of the proposed International Peace Conference on the Middle East could a comprehensive peace settlement that would address itself to the issues of land, people and political sovereignty emerge and be respected by all parties.
Mr. Al-Rout (Palestinian) stressed the necessity for urgent convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C. As only the United States and Israel had opposed that resolution, efforts had increasingly concentrated on those two States to persuade them to change their position. He noted that efforts undertaken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the NGO community had had a positive effect to that end by increasing public awareness of the need to implement resolution 38/58 C. The substantive content of such a Conference must be derived from international instruments, be balanced and be oriented to realities.
He drew attention to the dangers emanating from the Iran-Iraq conflict for the entire Middle East, as well as to the potential danger of the nuclear armament of Israel. Re denounced the violations of human rights by Israel in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands and calls within Israel to pursue the deportation of the Palestinians. He also noted the significance of the growing pacifist movement in Israel, the growing concern of the super-Powers, as well as the strengthening of PLO unity as important factors contributing to the prospects for the convening of the International Peace Conference.
Mr. Peled (Israel) was of the view that the various current crises in the Middle East should not detract attention from the long-standing urgency of resolution of the question of Palestine. Military action by Israel in recent years had only aggravated the problem. As long as the problem was not resolved through negotiations in which the Palestinians played an independent role, no other nation or community in the Middle East would enjoy peace and security.
The danger of a new Arab-Israeli war was just as imminent as ever, and the availability of more deadly weapons made the situation even more dangerous. It was of great urgency for the Middle East Governments to sign a pact prohibiting the introduction of nuclear weapons in the region. In this context, he referred to calls for an open trial of Mordechai Vanunu – an Israeli national who had revealed to the press Israeli's nuclear armament capability.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly fitted into the global pattern of super-Power confrontation. This resulted in part from development by Israel of long-range nuclear missiles and by its agreement to install Voice of America transmitters in its territory. This was a distorted perception of the conflict which posed obstacles in the path of a settlement, such as the efforts by Israel and the United States to exclude the PLO and the Soviet Union from the proposed peace process and to promote bilateral agreements. He cautioned that no solution would ever be found as long as the refusal to recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people continued to block the way to a truly International Peace Conference. Further, no real effort at putting an end to the arms race in the Middle East could be attempted so long as the Palestinian problem remained unsolved.
Mr. Zayyad (Palestinian) drew attention to the limited but extremely important progress that had been made towards the convening of the proposed International Conference. He referred in particular to the restoration of unity within the PLO, a matter of extreme importance for the Palestinian struggle, and the failure of bilateral peace initiatives.
It had become evident that the sole obstacle to the convening of the Conference was the negative attitude of the Israelis, in which they were supported by the United States. The Labour Party, which had declared itself in favour of a Conference, continued to deny the right of the PLO to participate, and to stipulate conditions for participation by the Soviet Union. The other main party, the Likud, categorically rejected the idea of an International Conference. Differences of opinion within Israel on the proposed Conference concerned therefore the question of form and tactics rather than substance.
The International Conference proposed by the United Nations would, on the contrary, have real powers to settle the dispute in accordance with internationally recognized principles and United Nations resolutions. While no one objected to the possibility of bilateral negotiations within the context of the Conference, they must be approved by the parties involved and must relate to substantive matters of concern to them.
Mr. Zayyad took the view that Israel's persistent refusal to withdraw to the pre-1967 frontiers lay in its expansionist regional ambitions. Israel had achieved a threatening military capability with United States support, which he warned might extend beyond its immediate neighbours. Its aggressive practices continued, which did not augur well for the future. In this regard, the easing of tension between the super-Powers might prove useful in creating an international climate more conducive to the settlement of regional conflicts, particularly that in the Middle East.
The occupation, now in its twentieth year, had been maintained with repressive policies and practices which had had for result, on the one hand, to increase the defiance and resistance of the Palestinians and, on the other, to lead to a polarization inside Israel. Many Israelis now saw the need for a two-State solution. They should be supported and encouraged.
B. Palestinian political and human rights
Introducing discussion of this topic Mr. Abu Ghazaleh (Palestinian) said that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, besides depriving the Palestinians of political, social and economic freedom, had aimed at destabilizing the very existence of the Arab population. Jewish settler colonization had resulted in the seizure of more than half the area of the West Bank and more than a third of Gaza while water resources had been diverted to Jewish settler programmes.
He said that the West Bank and Gaza had already been annexed de facto. While the Palestinian population in the occupied territories was kept under military rule, Jewish settlers had the same rights and freedoms as enjoyed by the Jews in Israel.
Mr. Ghazaleh asked that Israel make public the financial situation in the occupied territories, such as revenues from various forms of taxation, customs and other duties levied on goods imported or sold in the occupied territories, amounts deducted from the wages of Palestinian workers in Israel, and income received from the government-run health insurance or superannuation schemes. Palestinians in the occupied territories had no access to, or say in, budgets for expenditures on services. Those working in government departments were given no authority.
He urged that the provisions of the Geneva and Hague Conventions be applied in order that Palestinians under occupation might be guaranteed the right to economic and social development.
He said that his society for the care of the handicapped in Gaza had appealed to the Supreme Court to ensure that public land in the occupied territories be made available for public services, such as those it provided. It was critical that Palestinians themselves be permitted to take charge of community services such as public health, since the military authorities had insisted that international funding should go to government-run organizations. In consequence, he urged that United Nations-sponsored projects and other international funds earmarked for Palestinians be directed to community organizations.
In conclusion, he stressed the necessity of family reunification in the occupied territories which had been reduced to a trickle by the Israeli authorities. The urgent need was to find a way to end the current Israeli occupation and thus pave the way for a new era of peace and prosperity.
Mr. Dori (Israel) said that what was needed was recognition of the unquestionable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which would lay the moral and practical foundation for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The very fact that in the occupied territories two legal systems are applied – one for the Jewish settlers and the other for the Palestinian residents – demonstrated the moral deterioration that had been a product of the corrupting occupation. The "iron fist" policy of Israel had prevented both freedom of political organization and freedom of expression as well as the application of human rights. There was no evidence that the principles of international law had been applied in the occupied territories.
Mr. Dori pointed out that the occupation had provided a significant source of income for Israel. The Government of that country collected $188 million mainly from Palestinians working in Israel. Yet those same workers received only one tenth of the social security benefits of their Jewish counterparts, while paying the same dues. Only $85 million was reinvested by the Israeli Government in subsidies for food products and development. Turning to the subject of natural resources, Mr. Dori observed that the settlers used 50 per cent of all of the water consumed in the West Bank. And even now, attempts were being made to transfer water at Henodian, near Bethlehem, for the use of Jewish residents of Jerusalem.
Citing statistics describing the number of Israeli human rights violations in the territories, he said that peace activists within Israel had constantly expressed their opposition to such violations and demanded an end to the occupation.
An increasing number of Israeli people were calling for a dialogue and negotiations with the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. Today 36 per cent of the Jewish population in Israel supported that idea. So did many prominent individuals. The "iron-fist" policy, the purpose of which had been to spread fear among residents of the area in order to force them to leave their homeland had been a failure since no Palestinian would ever agree to leave his home voluntarily. There could be no such thing as "liberal" occupied territories, since there were no rights and only discrimination under occupation. The struggle had to be increased in Israel and throughout the world against the constant violation of human rights in the occupied territories which was contrary to all international conventions, the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. As a personal witness of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, a participant in the subsequent mass protest demonstrations and a person now on trial for having participated in meetings with PLO representatives, he pledged to do everything possible to carry forward the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Ms. Tawil (Israel) said that one of the most important and difficult paths undertaken by humankind was that undertaken by Palestinians. She paid tribute to the memory of Count Folke Bernadotte, who had lost his life trying to protect the rights of the Palestinian people.
Many resolutions on the situation had been adopted by the United Nations over the past 40 years, yet what could be done to ensure that any of them would be implemented and that the Palestinian problem be resolved? Palestinians were not terrorists and refused to be wiped off the pages of history. Armed resistance had its importance and effectiveness, she said, bearing in mind the terrorism inflicted on the Palestinians by the Israeli military authorities and the settlers. The PLO had created a Palestinian entity which could in no way be wiped out. The policy of Judaization in the occupied territories was yet another attempt to push the Arabs out. She reaffirmed the legitimate right to the Palestinian people to settle in its own land, to its own culture and identity, and to control its own destiny. Jerusalem had to belong to the three religions – Jewish, Christian and Muslim which had been founded in the region.
Mr. Zichroni (Israel) stated that the protracted occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was undoubtedly a major source of danger to the rule of law in Israel. A vicious circle was created as the authorities, faced with resistance, must suppress it, leading to greater resistance. The dual system of laws in the occupied territories encouraged apartheid.
This reality was confirmed by developments in such areas as land expropriation. Thousands of such orders had been issued by the military authorities in contravention of international law. The Supreme Court, which considered appeals, had often accepted justification based on "State security" by the military. Experience showed that security reasons were a pretext and that the majority of the Israeli public conceived of occupation not as a temporary military phenomenon but as a permanent national and territorial realization.
As the occupation moved into a state of permanence, arguments had shifted from security to the needs of civil administration. This had led to more intensive and encompassing administrative control. The links between Israel and the occupied territories were becoming inextricable.
At the same time, however, the Supreme Court had barred the granting of political rights to the population in the occupied territories and had permitted administrative detention, deportation, house arrest, sealing and demolition of houses, disallowing of family reunification and other policies. The developments in the occupied territories had been accompanied by increased discrimination against Israeli Arabs. Arab villagers had been changed into an Arab proletariat without rights. Norms of violent behaviour followed by the army in the territories became norms of private conduct in civilian life in Israel.
The situation encouraged extremism. Laws had been passed in Israel that stood in total contrast to the concept of the rule of law, such as the one criminalizing contacts with Palestinian organizations. The intent of such a law was to prevent peace efforts rather than terrorism.
Mr. Zichroni concluded with an appeal to the Palestinian leadership to help the Israeli peace camp by declaring its willingness to recognize Israel's right to exist and to co-exist in a meaningful peace in exchange for the return of all territories occupied in 1967 and recognition of the Palestinians' right to self-determination, ultimately leading to the creation of a Palestinian State. The declaration should also include explicit renunciation of violence for a certain period of time. In his view, such a declaration would have a tremendous effect not only in Israel but also on world public opinion. Organized and non-violent mass civil disobedience would also undoubtedly change the Israeli approach.
DECLARATION OF THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AT THE
FOURTH UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE,
HELD AT GENEVA FROM 7 TO 9 SEPTEMBER 1987
1. We, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participating in the Fourth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, in this year of the Palestinian people, thank the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for convening this meeting and we appreciate the presence of the members and observers of that United Nations body.
2. We thank the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the NGO liaison officers and the staff of the Division and the Department of Conference Services, including the interpreters, for their assistance in this Meeting. We look forward to increasing the level of mutual co-operation and understanding.
3. We were honoured by the presence of Chairman Yasser Arafat at the opening session of this meeting and sincerely thank him for his statement and his continuing support of our efforts.
4. We express our appreciation to the distinguished experts, resource persons and moderators who spoke here.
5. We recognize the need for and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolutions 38/58 C and 41/43 D. We are concerned at the delay in convening the Conference and gravely concerned that any further delay will worsen conflict in the Middle East, intensify the suffering and oppression to which the Palestinian people are daily subjected and increase the danger of global conflagration. For that reason, the international NGOs urge that practical preparations for the convening of the International Conference be started by the permanent members of the Security Council without delay.
6. Accordingly, we call on all Governments to work for the convening of the International Peace Conference under the auspices of the United Nations, as a matter of the utmost urgency, the participants to include the five permanent members of the Security Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel, the Arab States party to the conflict, and other concerned States, on an equal footing and with equal rights.
7. We express our conviction that one hope for peace lies with a concerted European initiative to bring Israel and the United States to accept the International Peace Conference as called for in resolution 38/58 C. To this end we urge the NGOs organizations in the countries members of the European Economic Community to persuade their Governments to update the Venice Declaration of 1980 to be in conformity with the guidelines enunciated in resolution 38/58 C. We note that the European Parliament has given the opportunity to a number of leaders involved in the Middle East conflict to present their views. We urge the European Parliament to invite Chairman Arafat to present the views of the Palestinian people.
8. We reaffirm the right of return and the recognition and exercise of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, with all that it implies, is a central requirement for peace and security, as well as being fully in accord with one of the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Therefore, we call on all Governments to recognize and respect that right.
9. We reaffirm the international consensus that the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in its just struggle for its inalienable rights. Accordingly, we call on all Governments to recognize the PLO.
10. We are appalled at the 1986 amendment to the 1948 Israeli Prevention of Terrorism Act, which criminalizes Israeli citizens who engage in peace talks with members of the PLO. We call for the repeal of this law forthwith and the dropping of all charges laid under this law or its amendments, particularly those relating to the Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem. We note past acts of harassment by the Israeli authorities against individuals living under its judicial and military authority who attend meetings with members of the PLO. We insist upon the basic right of all individuals to attend meetings, including this Fourth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine held at Geneva. We call upon the Israeli Government to permit such individuals, without discrimination, to return home safely and unharassed after their participation in this Conference. We further condemn attempts by any Government to curtail or obstruct the freedom of its citizens to associate with the PLO or any of its members. We strongly support continuing dialogue between Israelis and members of the PLO as an extremely important means of promoting a just and durable peace.
11. We are greatly concerned about the policies of racial discrimination practiced by the Israeli Government against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. Special attention should be paid to the plight of the oft-neglected Palestinian bedouin and the Arabs in the area of Beersheva and the Negev. We condemn the continuing repressive measures of the Israeli occupying Power against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories (including arrests, shootings, torture, expulsions, demolition of houses, closure of educational, cultural, and social institutions, collective punishment, land and water seizures, and censorship in all its forms) and we call upon all Governments and peoples to press the Israeli Government to end the occupation. Inhumane practices against Palestinian political prisoners and the denial of all their rights must be deplored.
12. We note with great concern the deteriorating situation in the camps of Palestinian refugees in Beirut and Southern Lebanon which have been under constant attack for three years. In the absence of actual legal measures that would guarantee the security of the Palestinian civilians in Lebanon after the abrogation of the Cairo agreement, we demand that the refugees receive the international legal protection provided under the relevant international conventions, specifically the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. We call for an end to the blockade, the start of reconstruction, and the normalization of the situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, we call for the establishment of an international delegation of eminent persons to study the situation in the field and to report its findings to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
13. We urge our Goverments to contact the appropriate parties to lift the blockade, to permit the immediate entry of the International Committee of the Red Cross and other health and relief organizations into the camps and the dispatch of medical and food supplies. We also demand the reconstruction of dwellings, hospitals and schools and the re-establishment of social and educational services.
14. We call for the ending of the continued Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon, the inhumane air raids which take Palestinian and Lebanese lives, and the intervention in Lebanese internal affairs through political coercion and oppressive action. We demand the immediate Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, in conformity with United Nations Security Council resolutions 508 (1982) and 509 (1982), and respect for its unity, sovereignty and democratic development and for the release of all those held in prison.
15. We deplore the Israeli policy of kidnapping Palestinians and others travelling in international waters and call upon all NGOs to launch a campaign against these actions, including informing maritime organizations and seamen's unions in their respective States about these acts of piracy, and to work with them to oppose these deplorable acts.
16. We, NGOs, condemn the introduction of nuclear weapons by Israel into the Middle East. We urge the United States and Western European States to terminate all co-operation with Israel in the fields of nuclear weaponry and research. We further call upon Israel to dismantle its nuclear weapons, to open its nuclear facilities to expert inspection and to sign the non-proliferation Treaty. The world has a right to know, the Israeli people have a right to know about Israel's nuclear capacity and the threat to regional and world peace which that capacity represents. The United Nations resolution on the creation of a nuclear- weapon-free zone in the Middle East must be implemented.
17. We are deeply concerned with the harsh and illegitimate conditions under which Mordechai Vanunu is being held and tried. Mordechai Vanunu drew the attention of the world to the Israeli nuclear arms capability. We condemn his kidnapping from European soil. We demand a fair, just and public trial for Mordechai Vanunu and submit that the need for regional and world-wide security from nuclear warfare morally justifies his actions.
18. We note Chairman Arafat's statement on the serious threat to peace and security posed by the perpetuation of the Gulf war and concur that "we must make every effort to reduce the dangerous tension in this important region of the world before the conflagration and destruction spread to other regions". We appeal to all parties to uphold the recent United Nations Security Council resolution 598 (1987) which aimed to end the war.
19. The objective of this meeting was to plan and co-ordinate NGO activities. Our primary work was conducted in workshops and in special working groups, and we affirm their conclusions as appended herewith.
20. We, NGOs, urgently request the establishment of a special committee on Palestinian culture to confront the systematic war being waged against Palestinian identity. This committee should consist of three Palestinian cultural experts who would advise and assist the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine (ICCP) in planning future non-governmental organizations activities.
21. Increased NGO effectiveness demands enhanced co-ordination and organization. In light of the growing importance of the ICCP liaison office at Geneva, we propose the establishment of an NGO liaison office in North America and national and regional committees in Europe and elsewhere.
22. It is important that special efforts be made to extend our network to Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and other under represented areas, and to encourage the participation of their NGOs in the international meeting to be held in 1988. We urge the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to exert special efforts to convene a Latin American regional NGO symposium in 1988 and on a regular basis.
23. We congratulate the European NGOs on the Regional Symposium successfully convened by them immediately prior to our Meeting with the valued support of the ICCP secretariat. We urge the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to include the Final Declaration of this European Symposium in the Committee's report to the General Assembly.
24. We urge the United Nations to convene an annual European regional symposium immediately prior to an annual international meeting. We further urge the United Nations to schedule a five-day international NGO meeting in the first week of September 1988 at Vienna, the format of which is to be decided in co-operation with ICCP with emphasis on workshops and special interest planning meetings.
25. We reaffirm the organization and work of ICCP and its secretariat at Geneva. We call upon the United Nations to offer every possible assistance to ICCP and its secretariat.
26. We urge the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this Declaration to the General Assembly at its forty-second session as part of the Committee's report.
A. WORKSHOP REPORTS
1. Report of the Workshop on Creative Arts and the Palestinian
Struggle for National Identity
The promotion of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people cannot be adequately fulfilled without addressing the systemic war being waged against Palestinian culture. Therefore, the Workshop on Creative Arts and the Palestinian Struggle for National Identity urgently requested the establishment of a special committee on Palestinian culture. This special committee would consist of three Palestinian experts in (a) the oral arts (b) the visual arts and (c) the performing arts.
The function of this special committee would be to advise ICCP in planning a strategy that would provide for practical measures to enable the Palestinian intelligentsia to cope and continue to create and produce under severe repressive conditions.
The special committee would also assist ICCP in planning future non-governmental organization (NGO) activities that would include quality programmes promoting Palestinian culture in countries with NGO representation.
2. Workshop on Community Development and Relief Work
The Workshop on Community Development and Relief work included representatives of 20 different NGOs from various countries.
The workshop participants concentrated on three main issues: (a) the situation in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza; (b) Palestinians in Lebanon; and (c) the problems confronting the Arab population in Israel.
Aims and principles of community development and relief work were raised by several speakers. It was stressed that the NGOs should in all their activities bear in mind the central aim of their work fulfilment of the national rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of their own independent State. Thus projects in the occupied territories should be directed towards strengthening the Palestinian national infrastructure by co-operating with organizations and bodies that truly enjoy the support of the Palestinian population. Also, crucial questions like that of water or confiscation of agricultural land, which have clear political aspects, should be addressed by the NGOs, as the solution of these problems is essential to true community development.
NGOs should also urge their governments to use these same criteria in directing their support to the Palestinian people. The funding of projects should not be made through organizations or schemes of other countries, like Jordan or Israel. In this respect, the policy of Governments like the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America was regretted and those Goverments were urged to re-examine the implications of their policies to participate in the Jordanian development plan.
Participants also urged that the United Nations bodies dealing with assistance to the Palestinian people should in greater degree use the above-mentioned principles and co-operate with Palestinian national organizations and bodies.
It was noted with satisfaction that the European Economic Community (EEC) had decided to grant preferential treatment to some products from the occupied territories. The marketing of these products should be channelled through Palestinian trade organizations. The United States, which has a free-trade agreement with Israel, as well as other countries should follow the example of the EEC in this respect. In addition to the support of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem where the situation is seriously deteriorating, the Arab population in Israel needed support. The Workshop heard a report on the difficult living conditions, unsatisfactory housing, high unemployment, lack of medical services and discrimination against Arab local councils in receiving State assistance.
The participants stressed that the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon was unbearable and required urgent measures. The siege around some Palestinian camps must be lifted and reconstruction be allowed to start without delay before the winter. All organizations were asked to use their contacts to achieve these aims through contacts with those responsible for the situation, so that effective assistance could be given to the population inside and outside the camps.
Several speakers stressed that the solidarity groups and other NGOs should do everything to widen the base of support to the Palestinian people as a means of working toward a just solution to the Middle East crises. That implies that the greatest number of organizations, including professional relief and development organizations, as well as cultural, sports and youth organizations, be actively involved.
Also, it was stressed that all projects of concrete assistance should be tied to educational and information campaigns in the respective home countries of the NGOs, as co-operation always should be a two-way process.
It was felt that more exchange of information and co-operation was needed between different organizations providing assistance to the Palestinian people. For example, organizations based in the EEC-countries and others could organize common projects which would be eligible for EEC support. Ways and means to strengthen the work through increased co-ordination, without jeopardizing the independence of the NGOs, should be studied. It was noted that ICCP was in the process of taking such action.
B. REPORTS OF SPECIAL ISSUE GROUPS
1. Women and women's tours
Participants in this group recommended that NGOs should contribute financially and organizationally to tours of Palestinian women, beginning with Western Europe and North America.
Some of the participants felt that supporting and planning tours of teams of Palestinian, democratic and progressive Israeli women beginning with Western Europe and North America, would help to mobilize public opinion.
It was also recommended to organize women's fact-finding delegations to the areas under Israeli rule to learn about the situation at first hand and to disseminate this information on return. Such delegations could be composed of representatives of one or more national and international NGOs.
It was also recommended to build a women's information network. Such a network would send information quickly about political developments, human rights violations (arrest, detentions, torture, expropriations,and collective punishments) and suggestions for action to a number of key places for further dissemination. A financial base for such a network would have to be secured. Until such time as such a network could be developed, such information should be sent to the ICCP office for dissemination.
An international symposium on children under occupation should be organized to expose the situation and to develop measures of assistance.
2. Jerusalem Hospice Hospital
ICCP recognized that the closure of the hospital in the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem in 1985 was part of a concerted policy to remove the Palestinians from the old city. The closure was effected by the Israeli Municipal Government on the request of the Austrian Roman Catholic Church (the legal owner of buildings and grounds), a binding lease to the Jordanian Government and a duly paid rent of $20,000 notwithstanding. Even the Austrian Government felt compelled to address a sharp diplomatic note to Israel about the closure and how it was effected. There was still a willingness on the side of the Austrian authorities to help to facilitate, materially, legally and politically, in any possible way to get a replacement for that now lost Palestinian institution for the poor in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, more than 4,000 children had been born in Jerusalem without the services of the only free hospital, many of the sick had been forced either to go to Israeli hospitals or find admittance to other facilities – none of them free.
In November 1987, the Austrian Church was to re-open the premises on the Via Dolorosa but as a semi-luxurious Pilgrim Hotel for Austrian Pilgrims, at the cost of over $8 million and, ironically, as a meeting place for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
ICCP recommends that all NGOs contact sympathetic church authorities and other agencies and inform them about the plight of Jerusalem's poor, and call upon them to support efforts to find a replacement of the important services of that former genuine community hospital.
3. Seizure by Israel of Palestinians and others in international zones
Participants in this group declared that Israel's kidnapping of people beyond its borders was an issue that must be addressed by the international community. They called upon all NGOs to launch a campaign against the seizure by Israeli military authorities of Palestinians and others travelling in international zones or within other countries and their subsequent detention, trial, imprisonment and involuntary transfer.
They called upon all NGOs to launch a campaign against Israeli State terrorism and to demand the immediate release of hostages taken at sea.
They called upon NGOs of the countries directly concerned whose territorial waters and/or flags had been violated to pressure their Governments to defend their sovereignty against Israeli attacks.
They further suggested that NGOs in each country inform maritime organizations and seamen's unions about illegal Israeli actions at sea and try to mobilize them against the Israeli Government's policy of piracy.
They pledged to initiate NGO co-operation to plan actions for the future and, more specifically, to prepare a draft motion to be presented at the next meeting of the International Maritime Organization which was to take place in March 1988.
4. Image of Arabs in popular culture and education
The group was concerned about the way in which the Palestinian image was portrayed in the media and in the popular culture of many Western countries. The participants agreed to exchange information on literature and projects on that matter. They also agreed on the possibility of convening an action-oriented symposium on the subject.
5. Support for bedouin
(Statement submitted by Nuri el Okbi, Chairman,
Association for Support and Defence of Bedouin Rights in Israel:)
We, the NGOs of the Fourth International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine appeal to the Israeli Government to stop the demolition of houses of the Arab bedouin in the Negev area, and of concentrating them in reservations which lack any sources of livelihood.
The residents of these reservations have been transformed into cheap daily labourers in Israeli projects, if work was indeed available, after most of their lands and livestock were confiscated.
We call upon the NGOs to work towards stopping the process of transforming the lives of the approximately 70,000 Arab bedouin of the Negev into the status of the American Indians.
Also we call upon all NGOs to support our demand for the establishment of agricultural townships with adequate land and water.
6. Statement on behalf of the Latin American observers from Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela and Nicaragua
We would like at this Fourth International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine to stress our support for the just struggle of the Palestinians.
We take it as a given that peace must be achieved on the basis of respect for self-determination and the norms of international law, by doing away with racist and Fascist policies of discrimination.
We urge those NGOs that are here to launch an all-out movement to rally the people of their countries to the just cause of the Palestinian people. We demand respect for United Nations resolutions on the subject of Palestine and for all norms of international law, which has been so sullied by the current United States Administration and the State of Israel.
We demand that the International Conference be held with the participation of all parties as a means of solving this problem on the basis of mutual respect.
We all pledge to expand in our countries the network of solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people.
Because we believe in peace, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and its legitimate representative, the PLO.
7. Other recommendations of special issue meetings
The plenary of the Fourth International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine strongly condemns the continuing Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land and water resources in contravention of international law, and calls on all participating NGOs to become founding members of an international foundation for the defence of Palestinian land and water resources. The Israeli Government must implement equality for its Arab residents, thereby ending confiscation and house demolition in Galilee, the Negev and the Triangle.
The participants in the Fourth International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine repudiate Israel's political and military interference in Central America because it endangers the peace process opened by the Guatemala agreement among the five Central American presidents.
ICCP should sponsor and co-ordinate international speaking tours by Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship, especially by mayors, university students and members of various organizations.
The representatives of the Greek Parliamentary parties to the Fourth International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine recommend the convening of a conference of parliamentary representatives of Mediterranean countries on the subject "Peace in the East Mediterranean". The conference should take place within the next year.
STATEMENT BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MR. DIEGO CORDOVEZ, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL
FOR SPECIAL POLITICAL AFFAIRS
On behalf of the Secretary-General, it is a pleasure for me to welcome you – and in particular Chairman Arafat – to the Fourth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine. This meeting is convened in accordance with General Assembly resolution 40/69 B of 12 December 1985 and under the direction of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
It is especially noteworthy that Chairman Yasser Arafat is himself representing the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and is participating for the first time in an international NGO meeting. Representatives of a distinctively large number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are gathered here. This and the participation of eminent panelists is an expression of the serious and responsible concern with which the NGO community seeks an equitable solution to the problem of Palestine which is the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East.
The search for a solution to this conflict remains one of the highest priorities of the United Nations. It has engaged the attention and concern of the United Nations, almost since its creation, and more time has been devoted to it than to any other international issue. To facilitate the effort towards a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict, the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held at Geneva in 1983, recommended the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. This call was first endorsed by the General Assembly at its thirty-eighth session, and reaffirmed at subsequent sessions.
As requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 41/43 D of 2 December 1986, the Secretary-General submitted his report to the Assembly and the Security Council, on 7 May 1987, on the question of convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. As stated in the report, all members of the Security Council are concerned about the situation in the Middle East and support the continuation of the Secretary-General's efforts for a just and lasting peace in the region. In contrast with the experience of recent years, none of the Council members opposed in principle the idea of an International Conference under the auspices of the United Nations. However, differences still existed regarding the form that the Conference should take. It was also generally agreed that the positions of the parties directly concerned remained apart on a number of issues of procedure and substance.
Since May 1987, the Secretary-General has continued his consultations with the parties and the members of the Security Council. In June he sent a mission to the area to explore further the positions of all the parties concerned, including the PLO. At Tunis, the mission had a most constructive discussion with Chairman Arafat. Similarly, the talks held with the other parties were also useful, providing the Secretary-General with clear indications of their positions. While a number of obstacles need still be overcome, the Secretary-General is determined to continue his efforts. To this end, the forthcoming session of the General Assembly will hopefully provide an opportunity to advance the process. The primary objective of the Secretary-General is a comprehensive settlement which will meet the aspirations of all the inhabitants of the region, in particular the Palestinian people who for the last 40 years has been living in exile or under occupation.
It remains a primary responsibility of the United Nations to strive for a solution to the Palestine problem, all difficulties in the way notwithstanding. Discouragement must not deflect us from our obligation to persevere in the search for a negotiated peace in the Middle East, a peace which will ensure justice for all people in the region and put an end once and for all to the violence and frustration which has persisted for nearly two generations.
I would like to take this opportunity to express the Secretary-General's appreciation of the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People which has carried out its mandate with dedication under the wise and able leadership of its Chairman, Ambassador Massamba Sarre.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, and on my own behalf, I wish the meeting all success.
STATEMENT BY MR. YASSER ARAFAT,
CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF
THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
I am honoured and pleased to stand before you in the Palais des Nations at Geneva, over which flies the United Nations flag, the flag of peace among peoples, in order to convey to you the greetings of our steadfast Palestinian people and the greetings of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), commending your efforts for the convening of the Fourth International NGO Meeting on Palestine, under the flag and the auspices of the United Nations and with United Nations support.
Despite the harsh circumstances besetting the Palestinian people at the present moment, I have deemed it my duty to come and address you in order to convey to you our people's message of peace and freedom. We have profound faith in the mission and role of the United Nations in the promotion of peace, mutual understanding and co-operation among the peoples of our planet and, similarly, in the pioneer role played by the non-governmental organizations (NG0s) in international public opinion circles in the cause of strengthening the pillars of peace and redressing injustice against peoples subjected to occupation and oppression.
Because the Palestinian people is a people that loves peace with justice and is fighting for freedom, which is the twin of peace, it looks primarily to the United Nations, the forces of world public opinion and all peace- and freedom-loving forces for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East that will rid the Palestinian people of Zionist aggression, occupation and official organized terrorism and the Fascist racism of Israeli militarism, so that we may offer our children a free life in dignity, like that enjoyed by the other children of the world.
The decision of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non- Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine to consider the year 1987 "the Year of the Palestinian People" is an expression of your noble ambition to make 1987 the year of peace for the Palestinian people. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations resolution on the partition of Palestine, the twentieth anniversary of the June aggression and the occupation by Israeli forces of all the Palestinian territories and other Arab territories and also the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Lebanon and the Sabra and Shatila massacres.
These are black pages haunting the international conscience and urging it to safeguard its values, not only because of the hideousness of the infernal and savage crimes committed by the Zionist forces, with the encouragement of United States imperialism, in its efforts to annihilate a people but also because Israeli-imperialist aggression still persists in committing crimes and massacres without any deterrent, whether self-imposed or international, in spite of the flood of international resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council calling upon the Israeli aggressors to halt their aggression and end their occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories.
A history of disasters, bloodshed, innocent victims and overwhelming sacrifices is joined by these connecting links of perpetual aggression against our people, in a never-ending attempt to bury alive the Palestinian homeland, land, people, history and culture. The Palestinian people has had no other option but to insist on life and survival, whatever the cost. It has had no option but heroic resistance in defence of freedom and the olive branch in the land of the Prophets, the land of the martyrs and the land of olive trees. In the face of aggression, settlement, confiscation of land, the establishment of settlements, the importation of settlers, the collective detention of our masses and our cadres, as well as demographic transformation operations, Judaization operations, the violation of Islamic and Christian holy places, the theft of our Islamic heritage, the closing of scientific centres, institutes and even hospitals, the destruction of agricultural land, including the stealing of water, leaving whole villages and their inhabitants thirsty – in the face of such actions, our small people has had no option but to declare its firm militant and human will as it confronts the most modern lethal American-made weapons, so that blood may triumph over steel and over the infernal military machine.
American-made tanks and aircraft are not yet sated of the flesh of our children, women, old people and men. The hands of the Israeli leaders, and their consciences too, are stained with the blood of innocent Palestinians, whose flesh has been turned into an experimental field for the technology of slaughter, for no reason except that they are Palestinians who have insisted on survival and on life in the face of an arrogant enemy whose presence is predicated on the absence of others, or rather their extermination, and which adopts the law of the jungle, aggression and sheer force against our people as the sole condition for its existence and survival. The enemy does this through the use of advanced United States military technology in order to "advance" backwards to the dark ages and to drag the world with it to the obsolete era of colonialism, racism and fascism, while pushing an area of extreme strategic sensitivity to the nuclear brink. This Israeli military gang has not learned from its experience or the experience of others, from Masada to the crimes of the Nazis, the Sabra and Shatila massacres and the crimes of the Levinger, Sharon and Kahane gangs.
Three months ago, we saw the twentieth anniversary of the June aggression and the occupation of the whole of Palestinian territory. The bullets of the Israeli occupiers mowed down the sons of the Palestinian people, who, on this occasion, declared, as it has always done, its rejection of occupation and of settlement and its staunch determination to exercise its legitimate right to self-determination and to build its independent Palestinian State on the land of its homeland, under the leadership of the PLO. During those same hours, our sons in the steadfast and beleaguered Palestinian camps in Lebanon were standing fast in the face of the siege and massacres which have been continuing now for five years, in order to affirm to the whole world that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the concurrent and subsequent conspiracies and butchery carried out by the Israeli invaders or their agents in the factional gangs have not annihilated and will not annihilate the Palestinian people, as the invaders and their masters and agents have imagined.
The Israeli and United States leaders imagined, during the invasion of Lebanon and the siege of Beirut in 1982, that imbecile blind force could crush our people and destroy its will. They destroyed the camps and committed crimes and massacres, including the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and we lost more than 72,000 Lebanese and Palestinian martyrs and wounded. Nevertheless, the will of our people and its resolve to live and survive opposed the Israeli aggressors, stood fast and were able to confront them in 1982 in the longest Arab-Israeli war and in one of the most successful wars of attrition since that time and up to the present; Israeli society is still suffering the psychological effects on its present and its future. How many voices are now heard from Israel openly admitting the failure of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, in the face of the relentless firmness of our people and our allies in Lebanon and the relentless firmness of our sons and brothers, who have become an exemplification of heroism as they defend life, freedom and peace in the face of the forces of death, war and darkness!
At the same time, on this anniversary, our people in our occupied territories is showing legendary steadfastness and unswerving resolve to resist the Israeli occupiers, in order that our people inside and outside the occupied territory, through its united will and the unity of our generous masses, may be able to demolish the efforts of the Israelis, the Americans and the collaborationist forces to strike at the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. All this is crowned by the unity of the instrument of the revolution, our Palestine National Council, at its eighteenth session in Algiers, and the formulation of our political programme, which enjoys the national consensus of our people inside and outside our occupied territory. This political programme is the programme of freedom, liberation and peace.
The wager made in 1982 has been lost. The PLO has stood fast – with all its structure and its potential for action and for resistance, militarily, politically, organizationally, popularly, locally, nationally and internationally – against the utmost degrees of Israeli-United States aggression and against states of siege. This situation has given it the courage and power to continue its resistance to occupation and to the occupiers and their masters by new means and with new strength and new faith.
The fire which burns in the hearts of our people in our occupied Palestinian land is the same fire that burns in the hearts of our Palestinian people in Lebanon. Israel, which failed in 1982 to eliminate the Palestinians and the PLO and which was forced to withdraw from large portions of Lebanon in the face of the heroic war of attrition waged by our Lebanese Palestinian masses and their joint forces, is primarily responsible for the continuation of the siege of the Palestinian camps by some factional and client forces, satellites within the orbit of Israeli policy, in the context of an infernal plan directed not only against Palestine and the Palestinians but also against Lebanon and the people of Lebanon, through a conspiracy to fragment the unity of the fraternal Lebanese people along factional lines, to divide Lebanon into factional cantons, to demolish its economy, to strike at this Lebanese-Palestinian unity through continuation of the siege and to strike at the Palestinian camps in order to expel the Palestinians from Lebanon. But where? Into the sea? Into the unknown? Where?
From here, I call upon you to raise your voices loud and to strive by every available means to halt the siege of the camps in Beirut and southern Lebanon and also to halt the continuous Israeli air and naval raids on the Palestinian camps and Lebanese villages and to half the naval blockade against them by the Israeli navy.
I appeal to you to take immediate action to ensure the basic conditions of livelihood for our beleaguered camps and to enable the international agencies and the International Red Cross to function and to assist the surviving population and to reconstruct what has been destroyed by shells and bombs, particularly in Shatila camp, which has been under siege for more than two years and deprived of water, medicine, food and the basic essentials of life and which has so far witnessed four massacres. I ask you, are not four massacres repeated in the same place enough? How many times – how many times – will the monster ravage this same body? How long will the craving for our children's blood continue?
In your presence today, we say to those who are violating Lebanon and its people that our Palestinian people will stand by this fraternal Lebanese people and uphold its unity, territorial integrity, national independence and security and will promote its stability and its livelihood.
The current conspiracy in Lebanon is aimed against Lebanon and against Palestine and also at the division and Balkanization of the Middle East in order to facilitate domination over it and over its wealth and to subject it and its peoples to the domination of international monopolies.
I said when I left Beirut in 1982 that the hurricane and the volcanic eruption that wracked the city at the time of the Israeli-United States invasion would not cease, but not many heeded these words. We now see the hurricane not only in Lebanon but sweeping the whole region. It will destroy many interests in the region and cause many things there to explode.
In the dangerous developments in the Arabian Gulf region, both the Iraq-Iran war and the ensuing intensive mobilization and presence of fleets, particularly the United States fleet, the United States-Israeli alliance is playing an ugly role in the escalation and extension of this war as well as encouraging its continuation in a region whose stability constitutes one of the major factors of world peace.
Israel is playing a role complementary to the United States schemes that are obstructing any effort that is made for international peace and security. The same applies in Palestine and in the Arabian Gulf region alike.
I must here express my deep concern at the increase in tension and the proliferation of naval fleets in the Gulf region and the certain danger which this tension and this presence constitute for world peace.
In this regard, I join my voice to the many voices in our world that call for an effort to bring about an immediate halt to the Iraq-Iran war, a peaceful settlement of the conflict and acceptance of the peace initiatives, including the recent resolution of the Security Council, which Iraq has accepted but Iran, so far, has not.
We must make every effort to reduce the dangerous tension in this important region of the world before the conflagration and destruction spread to other regions.
The United Nations General Assembly had already adopted many resolutions reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The General Assembly then reached agreement on the means of arriving at a just and durable peace in the Middle East, including the realization of the national rights of the Palestinian people. General Assembly resolutions 38/58 C and 41/43 D stressed the importance of convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East within the framework of the United Nations and under its auspices, with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and of the parties involved in the conflict in the region, including the PLO, on a footing of equality with the other parties.
The General Assembly called for the speedy setting up of a preparatory committee for this International Conference. The same resolutions were adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries at Harare, the Islamic Summit Conference in Kuwait, the Assembly of Heads of State or Government of the Organization of African Unity at Addis Ababa and the Arab Summit Conferences. The Socialist States also strongly supported these resolutions, as did the States of the European Community in their latest declaration, issued at Brussels, in which they called for the convening of the International Conference on the basis of the Venice declaration, which supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the participation of the PLO.
All the permanent members of the Security Council responded favourably to the call, with the exception of the United States of America. Similarly, all the parties involved in the conflict approved these initiatives, with the exception of the Israeli party.
Thus, the Israeli-United States alliance once again presents an obstacle to progress along the path of peace, which constitutes one of the fundamentals of world peace. They insist on going against the current of history and they continuously persist in the madness of power and arrogance, with ideological rigidity that seeks to do the impossible and the absurd. They insist on turning the Jews, the victims of nazism and fascism, into a neo-Nazi-Fascist force directed against the Palestinian people, which they seek to wipe out from existence. Here, in this context, I should like, on behalf of our people and on behalf of the PLO, to send greetings to the Israeli forces of peace which have stood bravely against the Fascist decisions and the invasion of Lebanon and which stand today on the side of the realization of the national rights of the Palestinian people.
In past years, we have many times reiterated that peace in Palestine is an indivisible part of world peace, and that failure to achieve peace in Palestine endangers world peace and security. We reiterate that today. War begins with Palestine, and peace too begins with Palestine.
The principal and sole obstacle that stands in the way of a just, durable and solid peace in Palestine and in the Middle East is the United States-Israeli obstacle. I tell you frankly that United States policy in the Middle East is the principal obstacle in the way of peace. It is that policy which supplies so-called "Israeli intransigence" with the insolence to flout the international will. Washington is on the side of aggression and occupation and against peace and against justice in Palestine. Successive administrations continue to pay billions and billions of dollars and provide tons of modern and advanced weapons, even those internationally prohibited, to Israel annually in order that it may remain capable of continuing its aggression and its occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories and its challenge to the desire of mankind to safeguard its civilizations achievements. This United States Administration is the one that established a military strategic alliance with Israel to form a spearhead for United States neo-colonialism in this region and which affords it full protection in the United Nations and its organizations and in the Security Council through the use of the veto to block the resolutions of international legality calling for a halt to occupation and aggression against the Palestinian people.
It is important that we recall at this point that Israel, as you all know, has, with the assistance of the United States of America and certain European States, introduced nuclear weapons into the region and has more than once threatened to use them. Israel has also been helped to produce the "Jericho" rocket, which carries nuclear warheads capable of striking areas within the Soviet Union and distant Arab locations.
Making the facts of the Palestinian question known and affirmation of the open-minded Palestinian message, which is the opposite of the closed-minded, racist Zionist message, constitute, at the same time, a warning to all mankind of the increasing threats to world peace. For this reason, any support for the just Palestinian struggle is support for the struggle for world peace.
NGOs are, unquestionably, capable of giving and working directly to support the steadfastness of our people in its land and to alleviate the suffering of our people in its beleaguered and threatened camps. Many of you have made great efforts to support our people and our just struggle and to alleviate the suffering of our women and children in more than one place and on more than one occasion. On behalf of this people and on behalf of the PLO, we extend to them our thanks and appreciation. Your presence here today is an important part of this support which our people needs.
The efforts being made today in our world to heighten world tension in more than one locality and on more than one plane, in particular the persistence of the United States Government in pursuing the Star Wars race and the nuclear acceleration which constitutes a direct and mortal threat to all mankind on our planet, which has become filled with nuclear weapons available to a number of parties, both large and small – all of this could easily get out of control as a result of any error, adventurism or sudden fit of madness, since these weapons are governed by machines and electronic systems. This calls for a collective human effort on the part of all States and Governments. We therefore look forward to the efforts to reach agreement on the removal of medium-range missiles from Europe, since this is one of the major dangers and "hot" issues, in preparation for arrival at international agreement on all the dangerous issues in the world, including the Middle East, Latin America, Central America, South-East Asia, southern Africa, whose peoples and States confront the Fascist racist Pretoria regime, the ally of the racist Zionist regime in Tel Aviv, which together represent two sides of the same coin of neo-colonialism in southern Africa and in the north-west of the continent. They are the bridgehead for neo-colonialism in our countries and the spearhead for international imperialist monopolies.
In this context, we strongly support the people of Namibia and their leadership in the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), and we support the people of South Africa and their militant national forces and send from here greetings to the militant Nelson Mandela in his prison.
We also strongly support the African front-line States facing the aggression of the racist Pretoria regime and its agents, the gangs and mercenaries that are professionals in killing and wars of aggression.
On behalf of our Palestinian people, we also support all free men and revolutionaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and reaffirm our solid support for the peoples of Central America in confronting United States aggression against them. We highly commend the agreement arrived at by the summit of Central American States at Guatemala City for defusing wars and establishing peace in that region.
The world is approaching a complex era of economic and technological interrelationship. Mankind has no choice but to eliminate sources of danger and strip the aggressors of weapons of destruction. Otherwise, the whole world will be overwhelmed with destruction. The only way to avoid that is for the peoples to attain their rights, freedom and full independence, politically and economically.
Our Palestinian people will remain determined to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in Palestine and in the Middle East, so that our people may live in freedom and security in its free land and participate with the peoples of mankind as a whole in making international peace. A just peace in Palestine cannot be achieved except through the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from all the occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and the realization of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including, primarily its right to return, to exercise its right to self-determination and to establish its independent national State on its national soil, Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.
From here we declare to you that we accept all international peace initiatives for the achievement of a just and durable peace in the Middle East, in particular, the convening of the International Conference, which Israel persists in rejecting, in defiance of the international will. We, however, insist on the convening of this International Conference. We must work for its convening under the auspices of the United Nations, on the basis of international legality and on the basis of the international resolutions adopted by the United Nations on the question of Palestine and the crisis in the Middle East and the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), in order to put an end to Israeli occupation in Palestine, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the other occupied Arab territories. This is what places the current Palestinian reality in a state of complementarity and positive interaction with contemporary international reality.
I wish your meeting every success and your organizations progress and expansion. It is an era that sees the dawning of hopes when the efforts of the NGOs are united with the efforts of the foremost international Organization, namely, the United Nations. More voices are thus raised for peace, justice and freedom, and stronger foundations are laid for a better future.
REPORT OF THE 1986-1987 INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE
FOR NGOs ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
It has been 14 months since the international non-governmental organization (NGO) community last gathered under the auspices of the United Nations to consider its common agenda on the question of Palestine and the path to peace in the Middle East. The successes and failures of the International Co-ordinating Committee (ICCP) efforts this past year must be measured against initial expectations expressed at the last International Meeting held in Vienna in July 1986. The goals articulated in the Vienna Declaration represented in July 1986 represented collective desires for concerted action and progress. The work of ICCP has been shaped by these articulated hopes and by the reality of prevailing circumstances.
Responding to the directives contained in the Vienna Declaration, ICCP decided to open its liaison office at Geneva. By September 1986, ICCP and the question of Palestine achieved new visibility at Geneva. Under the supervision of ICCP, the newly appointed executive director, Jean-Marie Lambert, immediately initiated contacts with the Geneva-based international NGO community as well as other NGOs in various regions. The Executive Director also increased NGO awareness of human rights violations in the occupied territories through "action alerts" in co-operation with NGOs in North America and Europe. The liaison office has issued seven newsletters since September 1986 as a means of publicizing the initiatives of NGOs and regional coordinating committees and of conducting ICCP co-ordinating responsibilities. These first issues of the ICCP Newsletter clearly indicate a commitment to enhancing the information flow among the global NGO network, and thereby, strengthening their coordination and effectiveness. The Newsletter is but one instrument to be utilized by ICCP in fulfilling its mandate, and it will continue to improve the valuable service it provides.
The initiatives of ICCP and the liaison office included assisting national and regional co-ordinating committees in organizing conferences, meetings and touring speakers. These efforts helped produce the Israeli NGO meeting held in June, and the European Regional Meeting convened at Geneva just prior to this international gathering (Newsletter No. 7). ICCP and its liaison office also has assumed considerable responsibilities for the Women's Tour of Europe and North America endorsed last year. Such a co-ordinating and collaborating role for ICCP and its liaison office fulfils part of the Committee's purpose, and this work should continue.
Co-operation with the United Nations has always been a priority for NGOs active on the question of Palestine. This year ICCP, through its officers, members and executive director, developed a closer working relationship with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights. Representatives of the ICCP spoke for the NGO community at large during the commemorative ceremonies convened by the United Nations in New York, Geneva and Vienna on 29 November 1986. The ICCP Chairman, as the representative of the international NGO Community, was invited as an expert panelist to speak at the United Nations Asian Regional NGO Symposium held in New Delhi, India, from 8 to 12 June 1987. Three other ICCP members also attended either as expert panelists or participants. Representatives of ICCP actively participated in the North American Regional Symposium held in New York from 24 to 26 June 1987 and three ICCP members were re-elected to the North American Coordinating Committee. The ICCP Executive Director also attended to make contact with the important North American constituency.
In its continuing efforts to be well informed and to recruit more organizations into the global NGO network, representatives of the ICCP attended the eighteenth session of the Palestine National Council called at Algiers in April 1987. The Chairman of ICCP was invited to address the Council on behalf of the NGO community, and the four ICCP members present made valuable contacts with many diverse groups there. ICCP was particularly gratified to note the positive reference to the NGO movement in the final resolutions adopted by the Palestine National Council.
Immediately after the New Delhi symposium, two ICCP members undertook an important fact-finding and contact mission to Japan (see the report in Newsletter No. 7). Numerous organizations and individuals were briefed on the status of the question of Palestine and the work of ICCP. The ICCP delegation was uniformly pleased with their positive reception by Japanese NGOs. The groundwork was laid for the creation of a Japanese NGO Co-ordinating Committee that could work in close association with ICCP and thereby involve the Japanese people more directly in international NGO networking. ICCP heartily encourages this Japanese participation and thanks all those organizations and individuals that extended such memorable hospitality to its delegation.
Areas of concern for the future of ICCP and the NGO Network
Since its inception in 1982, the global effort to co-ordinate and advance NGO activities on the question of Palestine has been hampered by financial difficulties. When the assembled NGOs decided last year at Vienna to approve the opening of the ICCP liaison office at Geneva, they also were advised of the costs of such an important step in the development of NGO co-ordination.
The financial status of ICCP initiatives remains precarious at best. It is imperative that all NGOs realize their common responsibility in providing the resources necessary to maintain and expand the ICCP programme of work. An enormous amount of time, energy and expertise has been donated to this effort by ICCP members and many others. But essential maintenance costs for the office, the Executive Director, the secretary, communication and publication costs, travel costs and others must be met for the network to grow and thrive. Without the proper funding there can be little effective planning. Without planning the programme of work would degenerate into a series of disconnected responses to crises. Long- and short-range objectives must be clearly stated and strategies adopted to achieve them. Funding of ICCP activities must be the concern of all NGOs.
All individual NGOs, national councils and regional committees must re-examine their priorities and decide whether such international co-ordination is vital to the just resolution to the question of Palestine. If the conclusion is positive, then all must bear a portion of the costs of pursuing these ends. This situation should be seriously addressed by anyone concerned with the future of the global NGO network.
More funding inquiries must be made by members of ICCP and the NGO community. All our contacts capable of assisting in some way should be approached for funding assistance. This includes individual corporations, Governments, regional organizations and international organizations.
The United Nations must re-examine its commitment to this movement it helped to create. Beyond the appreciated funding of the International Meeting and regional symposia, the organization should look creatively to other forms of support. United Nations officials should seriously consider providing office space at the Palais des Nations or other suitable site. Committee members should also resuscitate the 1983-1984 informal discussions on placing a Division liaison officer at Geneva. We are markedly aware of the financial constraints challenging the United Nations system today, but we must all call upon our creative energies to seek new answers and approach to perennial questions.
The ICCP liaison office has been open now for a year and its focus and programme of work should be scrutinized constructively by ICCP members and the NGO community. This may require a clearer definition of the roles to be played by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of ICCP as well as the Executive Director. These roles should be analysed from the perspective enhancing the networking effectiveness of ICCP and of promoting close co-operation with the United Nations. New modes of interaction between ICCP, on the one hand, and the regional committees on the other, need to be considered.
ICCP has agreed that the recruitment of new NGOs as participants in the global network is central to its mission. Recent work undertaken by ICCP on a number of fronts including North American and Japan has reinforced this commitment. But all NGOs must serve as recruiters of new organizations. We must look beyond the obvious constituencies to include other organizations and social movements that may not have a stated policy on the Middle East, and the question of Palestine at this time. The broader-based the coalition is on a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, the more influential this global, grass-roots network will be in effecting changes in States' policy.
ICCP should vigorously pursue this recruitment policy and openly encourage all NGOs to assist in the search for new participants. In this respect, it is necessary to focus on under represented regions. ICCP again urges the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convene an NGO Symposium in Latin America so the region can be activated and mobilized. Other geographic areas deserving renewed attention include Africa, southern Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The recent ICCP mission to Japan reconfirmed the conviction that there are many organizations in every corner of the globe working in isolation on this issue. Virtually all of them positively respond to joining a broader, global effort. But these groups must be located, identified and personally contacted before they can be recruited.
Composition of ICCP
The structure and membership of ICCP is central to its success. As NGO participation in the international meetings and the regional committees changes, subsequent alterations in ICCP should be discussed. For example, given the amount of interest the ICCP delegation observed in Japan during its mission and the increasing importance of Japan in international politics and economics, it is recommended that a Japanese NGO be added to ICCP. The number of active organizations there justify such consideration.
ICCP should also consider inviting representatives of the regional committees as observers at its meetings in order to ensure regular contact between the bodies. Finances permitting, ICCP should also consider convening at different locations and use the opportunity to encourage press coverage of its work and to meet with new organizations and societal leaders.
The declaration and recommendations adopted at the North American symposium in June contain proposals for joint projects to be co-ordinated by the North American Co-ordinating Committee and ICCP. Such suggestions should be seriously reviewed by ICCP to determine feasibility and effectiveness. But such joint ventures ought to be encouraged as they represent a significant change in the degree of co-operation among these entities and could improve the overall effectiveness of the global NGO effort on this issue.
It has been four years since NGOs gathered under United Nations auspices at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine (ICQP). One of the most significant results of that historic meeting at Geneva was the sense of solidarity and commitment among the organizations there. The United Nations, through the Committee and the Division, recognized the potential demonstrated at the Conference and focused some of its energies on supporting this emerging network of voluntary organizations through regional symposia and international meetings and through the vital contact work undertaken by Division liaison officers. These seeds have helped to produce the NGO network that exists today. ICCP, the Geneva liaison office, the regional symposia, the regional co-ordinating committees, the ICCP contact mission and the growing awareness, even in misinformed regions, that there can be no peace in the Middle East without addressing the question of Palestine, are all linked to that 1983 international meeting.
The global co-ordinating efforts of ICCP should be continued and expanded. The levels of co-operation with the United Nations should be increased. The funding of ICCP and NGO activities must be significantly augmented if the gains registered are not to be lost and if the global network is to grow. As NGOs we must communicate with both old constituencies and new. We must search for support where we have not looked before. We must become more adept at press and public relations. And we must not lose sight of our most formidable asset, that we are people voluntarily choosing to help other people to realize the fullness of the human legacy, the right of self-determination and the right to a homeland. The world will listen if we communicate this simple message in an effective way and demonstrate the overwhelming support such a policy already enjoys around the world. The key to success lies in NGO solidarity, in increasing the size of the global network and in clearly enunciating the unjust, inhuman status quo as well as a practical plan for change. Rhetoric will not bring peace to the Middle East nor human rights to the Palestinians. But pragmatic, purposeful, globally co-ordinated action by NGOs and others can be a powerful agent of the desired change.
ICCP and the global NGO network are now vital parts of the international effort to change the way people and Governments perceive the Palestinians and the requisites for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. ICCP has demonstrated its ability to provide the energy, programme and determination to increase the network's self-awareness and relevance. With proper funding and support, ICCP and the NGO network, in collaboration with the United Nations, will augment their impact on popular perceptions of the question of Palestine, the Palestinians as a people, and productive paths to peace.
INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR NGOs
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
The 1987-1989 membership of the International Co-ordinating Committee is the following:
Abderrahman Youssoufi (ARAB LAWYERS UNION)
Jean-Marie Gaubert (ASSOCIATION MEDICALE FRANCO -PALESTINIENNE)
Ohtori Kurino (COMMITTEE FOR PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH STUDIES/PALESTINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF JAPAN)
David Watkins (COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ARAB-BRITISH UNDERSTANDING) Tawfiq Zayyad (DEMOCRATIC FRONT FOR PEACE AND EQUALITY)
Maxim Ghilan (INTERNATIONAL JEWISH PEACE UNION)
Amnon Zichroni (ISRAELI COUNCIL FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE)
M.S. Agwani (JAWARHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY) – interim member
Dale L. Bishop (NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE USA)
James A. Graff (NEAR EAST CULTURAL AND EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF CANADA)
Marai Abderrahman (PALESTINE COMMITTEE FOR NGOs) Hans C. Knaevelsrud (PALESTINE FRONT OF NORWAY) Don Betz (PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN)
Hans-Peter Kotthaus (PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION) Alexandre Kislov (SOVIET AFRO-ASIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE)
Edith Ballantyne (WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM (WILPF)) Therese Abdul Nour (WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION)
Ghassan Rubeiz (WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES)
Mostafa Bahig Nassar (WORLD PEACE COUNCIL)
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS
ABNA EL BALAD ASSOCIATION
AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLE'S SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION ALL INDIA INDO-AFRICAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION ALL INDIA INDO -ARAB FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION ALL INDIA PEACE AND SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL TRUST
AMERICAN JEWISH ALTERNATIVES TO ZIONISM ARAB LAWYERS UNION
ARAB ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ARAB STUDIES SOCIETY
ASOCIACION NACIONAL AMIGOS PUEBLO PALESTINO "AL-FATAH", SPAIN
ASSOCIATION FOR SOLIDARITY WITH ARABS ASSOCIATION MEDICALE FRANCO -PALESTINIENNE ASSOCIATION 'NAJDEH'
ASSOCIATION OF ARAB-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES ASSOCIATION SUISSE-PALESTINE
BULGARIAN COMMITTEE FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF ASIA AND AFRICA CANADA-ARAB WORLD PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION
CANADIAN ARAB FEDERATION
CANADIAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
CENTRE D'ETUDES ARABES POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT (CEAD)
CENTRE INTERNATIONAL D'INFORMATION SUR LES PRISONNIERS DEPORTES ET DISPARUS PALESTINIENS ET LIBANAIS
CHRISTIAN PEACE CONFERENCE
CHURCH OF HUMANISM
COMITE CATHOLIQUE CONTRE LA FAIM ET POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT
COMITE PALESTINE ET ISRAEL VIVRONT
COMMISSION OF THE CHURCHES ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
COMMITTEE CONFRONTING THE IRON FIST
COMMITTEE FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN DIALOGUE COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF ARAB LAND
COMMITTEE FOR PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH STUDIES, JAPAN COMMITTEE OF YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS OF USSR
COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ARAB-BRITISH UNDERSTANDING (CAABU) DEMOCRATIC FRONT FOR PEACE AND EQUALITY
DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION OF PEACE DUTCH PALESTINE COMMITTEE
EGYPTIAN COMMITTEE FOR PEACE AND DISARMAMENT EL-NAHDA
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN-ARAB ORGANIZATIONS FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION
FINNISH-ARAB FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
FRIENDS WORLD COMMITTEE FOR CONSULTATION
GREEK COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC SOLIDARITY
GRUPPO DI RECERCA SUL MEDIO ORIENTE CONTEMPORANEO (GRMOC) HANITZOTZ/AL-SHARARA PUBLISHING HOUSE
HUNGARIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
INDO -ARAB LEAGUE, HYDERABAD
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS
INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR NGOS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLES
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (EAFORD) INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS ORGANIZATION INTERNATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH AND STUDENT MOVEMENT FOR THE UNITED NATIONS INTER-PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR ARABS
IRELAND FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
ISRAELI COUNCIL FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE
JAPAN-PALESTINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION JEWISH PEACE FELLOWSHIP
JOINT ORGANIZATION FOR PALESTINE
LE REGROUPEMENT POUR UN DIALOGUE ISRAEL-PALESTINE
LONDON FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS
MERCY CORPS INTERNATIONAL
MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL OF CHURCHES (MECC)
MIDDLE EAST FELLOWSHIP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
MOBILIZATION FOR SURVIVAL
MONGOLIAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE UNITED NATIONS
MOVEMENT OF DEMOCRATIC WOMEN IN ISRAEL MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE
NAJDA: WOMEN CONCERNED ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE USA
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDIAN WOMEN
NEAR EAST CULTURAL AND EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF CANADA (NECEF)
NOVEMBER 29 COMMITTEE FOR PALESTINE
ORGANIZACION DE SOLIDARIDAD CON LOS PUEBLOS DE AFRICA, ASIA Y AMERICA LATINA ORIENTAL FRONT
ORIENTALIA – Agency for development in the Near East
PALESTINE COMMITTEE FOR NGOs
PALESTINE GROUPS IN NORWAY
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY PALESTINE GROUPS IN SWEDEN
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
PALESTINE UNION OF WOMEN'S WORK COMMITTEES PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION
PEACE, FRIENDSHIP AND SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
POLISH SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE WITH THE PEOPLES OF ASIA, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA PRISONERS FRIENDS ASSOCIATION
PROGRESSIVE LIST FOR PEACE
PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT FOR PEACE
SAVE THE CHILDREN FEDERATION
SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE OF THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
SOVIET AFRO-ASIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE UMM EL-FAHEM CULTURAL CENTRE
UNION GENERALE DES TRAVAILLEURS TUNISIEN UNION OF ARAB JURISTS
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION/WASHINGTON OFFICE (UUAWO)
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF BANGLADESH UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF EGYPT
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF THE MONGOLIAN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC
UNITED STATES PEACE COUNCIL
WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION FOR PALESTINE RIGHTS WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM WORLD ALLIANCE OF YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
WORLD CONFERENCE ON RELIGION AND PEACE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
WORLD FEDERATION OF DEMOCRATIC YOUTH WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
WORLD FEDERATION OF UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATIONS (WFUNA)
WORLD YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
ACADEMICIANS LEAGUE OF NAZARETH
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION OF JORDAN'
ALL-INDIA BHARAT YUVAK SAMZ
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER
AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MEDICAL AID
ARAB CAUSE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
ARAB LABOUR ORGANIZATION ARAB MEDICAL UNION
ASOCIACION POR DERECHOS HUMANOS DE ESPANA
ASSOCIATION FOR SOLIDARITY WITH ARABS
ASSOCIATION FOR THE SUPPORT AND DEFENCE OF BEDOUINS' RIGHTS IN ISRAEL ASSOCIATION IRAKIENNE DES DROITS DE L'HOMME
ASSOCIATION MAROCAINE DE SOLIDARITE AVEC LA LUTTE PALESTINIENNE ASSOCIATION POUR RECONSTRUIRE EMMAUS
ASSOCIATION SANTE SUB ASSOCIATION 'YATEB'
AUSTRIAN AD HOC COMMITTEE OF FRIENDS OF THE ARAB HOSPITAL IN JERUSALEM AUSTRIAN PEOPLE'S AID
BAHRAIN PEACE AND SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
BLACK PANTHER ORGANIZATION
BULGARIAN COMMITTEE FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF ASIA AND AFRICA
CAMPUS – STUDENT MOVEMENT IN ISRAEL CANADIAN NATIONAL TRADE UNION
CENTRE FOR AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES – CUBA
CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION (JERUSALEM) CENTRAL AGRICULTURAL CO-OPERATIVE UNION CENTRE D'ETUDES ANTI -IMPERIALISTES (CEDETIM)
CENTRE D'INFORMATION ET DOCUMENTATION AMILCAR CABRAL
CENTRE PALESTINIEN DE L'INFORMATION ET CULTURE DE BERLIN-OUEST
CENTRO INTERNATIONALE CROCEVIA
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC YOUTH OF AMERICA CIRCLE OF ARAB ACADEMISTS
COMITATO DI SOLIDARIETA CON IL POPOLO PALESTINESE COMITE DE PAIX DU LAOS
COMITE DE SOUTIEN SUISSE A NAJDEH
COMITE DES ORGANIZATIONS DE JEUNESSE SOVIETIQUE COMITE POUR LE PATRIMOINE CULTUREL PALESTINIEN COMITE MEXICANO DE APOYO AL PUEBLO DE PALESTINA
COMMITTEE FOR THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OF PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS COMMITTEE FOR WOMEN'S EQUALITY AND PEACE
COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE
CONFEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DES SYNDICATS ARABES CONFEDERATION DES SYNDICATS NATIONAUX
CONSEIL BRESILIEN DE DEFENSE DE LA PAIX
CONSEIL D'AMITIE ET DE SOLIDARITE AVEC LES PEUPLES (ALGERIE)
CONSEIL DE LA PAIX ET DE LA SOLIDARITE D'IRAK CONTACT RESOURCES
DATABASE PROJECT – PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CYPRUS
DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL PARTY OF GREECE DIALOGUE FOR PEACE WITH ISRAEL-PALESTINE DRUZE INITIATIVE COMMITTEE
EGYPTIAN ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EGYPTIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
ENFANTS REFUGIES DU MONDE
EUROPEAN COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS FALESTIN BILADI CLUB
FEDERACION DE INSTITUCIONES CULTURALES JUDIAS DE LA ARGENTINA FEDERATION OF ARAB JOURNALISTS
FRENTE FARABONDO MARI PARA LA LIBERACION NACIONAL EL SALVADOR FRIEDENSLISTE
FUNDACION AGUSTO C. SANDINO
GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS GENERALE DE L'UNION DES JURISTES ALGERIENS GERMAN PALESTINIAN SOCIETY
GREEK COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL DETENTE AND PEACE
IEPALA (NST/TUTO DE ESTUDIOS PARA AMERICA, LATINA Y AFRICA) INSTITUTE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SERVICE, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CYPRUS
ISRAELI COMMITTEE TO MARK 20 YEARS OF OCCUPATION JAFFA INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION SERVICES CENTER
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU NATIONAL YOUTH CENTRE JERUSALEM AND PEACE SERVICE
JORDANIAN AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION JORDANIAN BAR SOCIETY
JORDANIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
JORDANIAN PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION JORDANIAN WORLD PEACE ORGANIZATION JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES
KURDISH ASSOCIATION IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
LIGUE ANTI -COLONIALE ANTI -IMPERIALISTE HELLENIQUE MJRI – MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS
MOVIMIENTO NACIONALISTA REVOLUCIONARIO MOVIMIENTO PERUANO POR LA PAZ – MOPEDAZ NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR ARAB SECONDARY SCHOOLS STUDENTS, ISRAEL
NATIONAL RAINBOW COALITION, USA
NATIONAL UNION OF ARAB STUDENTS, ISRAEL NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS NORWAL, THE NORWEGIAN AID COMMITTEE NORWEGIAN PEOPLES AID
ORGANISATION DE PAIX DE SOLIDARITE ET D'AMITIE DE LA REPUBLIQUE D'AFGHANISTAN OUSA
ORGANIZATION FOR SOLIDARITY AMONG ASIAN AND AFRICAN PEOPLE
PALESTINE COMMITTEE, NORWAY
PALESTINE MEDICAL COMMITTEE
PARLAMENTO BOLIVIANO PARTIDO DE LA IZQUIERDA DEMOCRATICA
PARTI SOCIALISTE DESTOURIEN (PSD), TUNISIA PARTIDO DEMOCRATIC TRABALHISTA
PARTIDO SOCIALISTA REVOLUCIONARIO
PARTISAN HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY OF ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT
PEACE CATALIZATION COMMITTEE OF HUNGARY PORTUGUESE COUNCIL FOR PEACE AND COOPERATION PAZ Y COOPERACION
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN CANADA
PROGRESSIVE FRONT FOR PEACE
PROGRESSIVE PARTY OF THE WORKING PEOPLE (AKEL) REVUE D'ETUDES PALESTINIENNE, EDITIONS DE MINUIT SCHWEIZ PALASTINA
SOCIALIST ALLIANCE OF WORKING PEOPLE OF YUGOSLAVIA
SOCIALIST PARTY OF CYPRUS
SOCIETY FOR HANDICAPPED CHILDREN – GAZA SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL/EAST ATHENS SOZIALE HILFSORGANISATION
SUDAN PEACE AND SOLIDARITY COUNCIL SWEDISH-PALESTINE ARCHIVE
UNIAO /NTERPARLAMENTAR – BRASIL UNION DES JURISTES ALGERIENS UNION DES TRAVAILLEURS YEMENITES
UNION GENERALE DES ETUDIANTS ET DE LA JEUNESSE D'IRAK
UNION OF PALESTINIAN MEDICAL RELIEF COMMITTEE
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WORKING WOMEN
UNION SOCIALISTE DES FORCES POPULAIRES DU MAROC
UNIONIST DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION
UNITED MALAYS NATIONAL ORGANIZATION (UMNO)
UNITED MALAY NATIONAL ORGANIZATION YOUTH
VIETNAMESE COMMITTEE FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF ASIA AND AFRICA WEBSTER UNIVERSITY REFUGEE STUDIES PROGRAMME
WORLD ISLAMIC CALL SOCIETY
YEMENI COUNCIL FOR PEACE AND SOLIDARITY YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF ISRAEL
Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, II, Democrat, West Virginia, House of Representatives, U.S.A.
Mr. Hatem Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman, Society for the Care of Handicapped Children in the Gaza Strip
Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA and member of the Palestine National Council
Mr. M. S. Agwani, Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Mr. Shafiq Al-Rout, Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon and member of the Palestine National Council
The Hon. Gordon Bilney, Member of Parliament, Australia, and Chairman of the Joint Committee for Foreign Relations and Defence
Mr. Latif Dori, Founder and Secretary of the Committee for Israeli- Palestinian Dialogue
Mr. Peter Jankowitsch, Member of Parliament, Austria, and Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Austrian National Assembly
Senator Heath Nelson Macquarrie, Member of Parliament, Canada, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mr. Mattityahu Peled, Member of the Knesset and Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, University of Tel-Aviv
Ms. Raymonda Tawil, Director-General of the Palestine Press Services and Editor-in-Chief, Al-Awdah
H.E. Mr. Vladimir Vinogradov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Mr. Tawfiq Zayyad, Mayor of Nazareth, Member of the Knesset and member of the International Co-ordinating Committee (ICC)
Mr. Don Betz, Professor of Political Science, Northeastern University, Oklahoma, USA, Chairman of ICCP and member of the North American Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mr. Kamal Boulatta, Palestinian artist
Mr. James Graff, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada, member of ICC and NACC
Mr. Hans Peter Kotthaus, Deputy Secretary-General, Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation and member of ICC
Mr. David Watkins, Director, Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and Treasurer of ICC
Mr. Amnon Zichroni, Executive Director, Israeli Council for Israeli- Palestinian Peace and member of ICC
Members.and-observers.of.the.Committee.on.the-Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of.the.Palestinian-People
H.E. Mr. Massamba Sarre, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations, Chairman of the Committee of the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and leader of the Committee delegation
H.E. Anatoliy Arseenko, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to the United Nations
H.E. Mr. Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations
H.E. Mr. Alberto Velazco-San Jose, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations
Mr. Zehdi L. Terzi, Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations
States Members of the United Nations represented by observers
German Democratic Republic Greece
Lao People's Democratic Republic Malaysia
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics United Arab Emirates
United Republic of Tanzania
Other-Governments Democratic People's Republic of Korea
United Nations Council for Namibia
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
European Economic Community
Organization of Africar Unity
Organization of the Islamic Conference
National liberation movements
Palestine Liberation Organization
South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO)
African National Congress