SPECIAL UNIT ON
Office of the Under-Secretary-General
for Political and General Assembly Affairs
Table of Contents
Action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People continued to be active in implementing its mandate and kept under review the many events which took place during this period and which directly concern the Committee's work.
Several events occurred in the Occupied Territories, and statements were made by the Government of Israel on which the Committee felt the need to take immediate action. Accordingly letters were addressed to the President of the Security Council and issued as official United Nations documents on three occasions. The events that gave rise to this action and the actual text of the letters submitted are recorded below.
The Committee also welcomed the creation of the Security Council Commission established under resolution 446 (1979) and warmly responded to the invitation of its Chairman to extend its full co-operation and assistance in the implementation of its mandate.
Accordingly on 30 April 1979 a delegation consisting of the Bureau of the Committee attended the fourth meeting of the Commission to make known its views on action that might be taken by the Commission. A summary of the statement made by Ambassador Medoune Fall, Chairman of the Committee, on that occasion is given in this Bulletin.
In carrying out that part of its mandate which called upon the Committee to disseminate information on its work and on the question of Palestinian Rights, representatives of the Committee participated at several meetings and statements made by them are included below.
(a) On 2 May 1979 the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Medoune Fall of Senegal, addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council expressing his serious concern over the recent decision of the Government of Israel to establish two new settlements in the occupied Arab territories. He pointed out that the decision of the Government of Israel was incompatible with the recommendations of the Committee and in violation of the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. In addition this action was also in violation of Security Council resolution 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967 and 252 (1968) of 21 May 1969 and General Assembly resolutions 32/5 of 28 October 1977 and 33/113 of 19 December 1978. The text of the Chairman's letter is reproduced below (document S/13291):
I feel it m.y duty as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to express serious concern over the recent decision of the Government of Israel to authorize the establishment of two new settlements in the occupied Arab territories in defiance of widely held international opinion. The fact that this decision is announced within a few weeks of the adoption of Security Council resolution 446 (1979), calling on Israel to desist from such policies, clearly demonstrates the intransigence and the cynical attitude of Israel towards international opinion and the concept of fundamental human rights.
This decision is completely incompatible with the recommendations of this Committee, which have been repeatedly endorsed by the General Assembly. In addition, it constitutes a violation of the Geneva Convention of 12 August 19^9 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of Security Council resolutions 237 (1967) of 14 June 196? and 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, of the statements made on behalf of the Security Council by its President at the 1922nd meeting, on 26 May 1976, and the 1969th meeting, on 11 November 1976, and of General Assembly resolutions 32/5 of 28 October 1977 and 33/113 of 19 December 1978.
Such action can have no legal validity and merely serves to aggravate the tensions in the area and undermine efforts to promote a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem.
Statements ascribed to Israeli Cabinet Ministers confirm that Israel intends to continue to pursue this policy of establishing further settlements in complete disregard of world and international law and practice. One such statement ascribed to Mr. Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Agriculture – indicates that 27,000 settler families will be moved over the next three years into the West Bank and is particularly disturbing in that it has been learned at the same time that Mr. Sharon is to take part in the negotiations on Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. A statement of this kind can only serve to compromise Israel's standing in these negotiations.
I should be grateful if you would arrange for this letter to be circulated as a Security Council document.
(Signed) Medoune FALL
Chairman of the Committee en the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
(b) On 15 May 1979 the Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Raul Roa Kouri of Cuba, addressed a letter to the Secretary-General concerning measures taken by the Government of Israel against the Palestinian People in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and pointing out that such actions posed obstacles in the path of peace. The text of the letter is reproduced below (document A/34/238 and S/13322):
I have the honour to convey to you once more the concern of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People over the systematic and increasingly repressive measures taken by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people in the territories illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.
While presumably not all repressive measures taken by the Israeli authorities receive publicity in the Israeli press, the following extract from The Jerusalem Post (International Edition) of 6-12 May 1979 is a clear indication of the treatment meted out by the Israeli authorities to those who do no more than exercise their freedom of expression:
"Author of PLO cable expelled to Lebanon
A 27-year-old Bir Zeit student, Riad Abu Awwad – who reportedly drew up a message of support sent to a PLO conference in Damascus by a group of Israeli Arab students in January – was expelled to Lebanon last week by the military government.
Abu Awwad had fought the expulsion order all the way up to the Birth Court, and had also appealed to Minister of Defence Ezer Weizman.
Crossing into South Lebanon, Abu Awwad was stopped by shepherds from the Shia village of Meis el-Jabal. He was brought for questioning to Christian militia leader Major Sa-ad Haddad, who turned him over to Nigerian United Nations troops after establishing his identity."
Several other instances of such provocative and repressive actions have also been brought to my attention by the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization. For instance, on 2 May 1979 a student at Sir Zeit University was shot and wounded during a demonstration. On 3-May 1979 Israeli troops using tear gas closed Bir Zeit University and informed the Acting President that they were not optimistic that the University would, be reopened. On the same day Israeli troops surrounded Bethlehem University and closed it. Whether the military authorities will allow the University to reopen is unknown. Since 3 May 1979, 70 students from Bir Zeit University have been under arrest. In addition, on 7 May 1979 the Israeli military authorities closed the secondary school in Bethlehem. These events were also referred to in a document of the Security Council (S/13313).
These are but a few of the provocative steps taken by the Israeli authorities in recent weeks which affect, the human rights of inhabitants of the occupied territories and demonstrate an escalation of the systematic repression directed against those who exercise their freedom of expression. Such actions constitute a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and a rejection of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions aimed at restoring peace in the area.
The issue of The Jerusalem Post (International Edition) quoted above also contains an article entitled "The water threat", which commences with the following two paragraphs:
Later in the same article the writer warns but once the autonomous Arab administration takes over, there may not be anyone to protect Israel's interest and guarantee this flow'.
This article is indicative of the campaign that the Government of Israel has mounted to instigate public fears and to win support for Prime Minister Begin's plans to circumscribe even the limited autonomy he proposes for the West Bank and Gaza.
It is clear that, contrary to Israel's protestations that it acts only with the sole purpose of restoring peace to the area, Israel is bent on pursuing policies and practices which are provocative in the extreme and merely tend to increase tension in the area.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, deeply concerned at these developments and the consequences that they could generate, has authorized me to point out that these systematic and increasingly repressive measures not only pose new obstacles in the path of a Just and lasting peace in the Middle East, but also aggravate the threat to international peace and security.
I shall be glad if this letter is circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under item 24 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Raul ROA KOURI
Acting Chairman of the
Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
(c) On 17 May 1979 the Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Raul Roa Kouri of Cuba, addressed a further letter to the Security Council referring to a letter by the Permanent Representative of Israel (A/34/231) of 9 May 1979 concerning Israel's refusal to withdraw from territories it occupied since 1967 in violation of basic principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and General Assembly and Security Council resolutions (A/34/258 and S/13334):
As Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I have the honour to refer to the letter dated 9 May 1979 addressed to you by the Permanent Representative of Israel (A/34/231). In that letter, Israel once more publicly affirmed that it intends to continue to act in violation of basic principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and with complete indifference to world opinion.
This attitude cannot but give rise to the most serious concern on the part of States Members of the United Nations.
In this connexion, I draw your attention also to the fact that Israel's declared refusal to withdraw from the territories it has occupied since 1967, as well as its stated intentions concerning those territories, as detailed in the letter under reference, ignore the recommendations of this Committee, which have been endorsed by the General Assembly.
In particular, its statement that "Under no circumstances will Israel contemplate or permit the establishment of a 'Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza'" is a flagrant denial of the right of self-determination and a provocative reiteration of Israel's plans to annex and colonize those occupied territories in violation of international law.
Israel's refusal to withdraw from the territories it has illegally occupied since 1967 is manifestly a violation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), the terms of which Israel often selectively quotes, ignoring the fact that the preamble of that resolution emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.
Furthermore, Israel's declaration that Jerusalem will always remain "one indivisible city – the eternal capital of our country ignores the terms of Security Council resolution 252 (1968), which reads in part as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Bearing in mind the need to work for a just and lasting peace.,
"Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible,
"2. Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status;
"3. Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem;
Such continued open defiance of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions constitutes a stark contrast to the statement by the Permanent Representative of Israel in his letter to you dated 28 March 1979 wherein he stated: "The Government of Israel is committed to peace and to the continuation of the peace process" (A/34/151-S/13206).
I state once again that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is convinced that the principles on which it based its recommendations, and which have been endorsed repeatedly by the General Assembly, are a sine qua non for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Briefly, those principles are: the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and to achieve self-determination, national independence and sovereignty; the participation of the PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people, in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.
On behalf of the Committee, therefore, I wish to express my disagreement with regard to the contentions of the Permanent Representative of Israel, since they are intended to deny the Palestinian people their inalienable rights, as defined by various organs of the United Nations, and pose obstacles in the way of implementing those rights, thereby aggravating the Palestinian problem, which is recognized as being at the heart of the Middle East conflict.
I should be grateful if you would have this letter distributed as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 24 of the preliminary list of the Security Council.
(Signed) Raul ROA KOURI
Acting Chairman of the
Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of
the Palestinian People
Summary of the statement made by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People before the Commission established by Security Council resolution 446 (1979)
Mr. Medoune Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that no Just and lasting peace in the Middle East was possible without resolving the question of Palestine. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People would therefore be glad to receive information from the Commission regarding its plans and how its work was proceeding. It no doubt planned to visit and consider the Israeli settlements in question, including Jerusalem. It would no doubt also wish to meet not only Israeli military governors in occupied Arab territories, but also elected officials and other representatives of the Palestinian people both inside and outside the occupied territories. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People would strongly endorse such steps, and it felt that the Commission might also wish to meet the appropriate representatives of the Governments of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
The Israeli Government's consistent refusal to comply with the provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1949 constituted an integral part of the Israeli settlement problem, as did the question of the violation by Israel of human rights in the occupied territories. The Commission might therefore also contact the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.
With regard to documentation, the Commission might wish to use the documents submitted during recent Security Council debates and those obtained from the various Governments concerned and appropriate United Nations bodies. He wished to draw attention to the letter of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and its annexes (S/13132), which described the strategic and military implications of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Earlier letters issued in 1977 and 1978 in documents S/12377 and A/33/154 might also be useful to the Commission.
He would also provide the Commission with two studies prepared by the Committee: one on the right of return of the Palestinian people, an issue on which the United Nations had taken a position as early as 1948 and which underlay the problem of the settlements; and the other on the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, an equally important issue that impinged on the settlements problem. Unless that problem was solved, it was difficult to see how the Palestinian people could regain their rights.
In addition to useful background information on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, the Committee would provide the Commission with its recommendations, including those regarding Israeli settlements, which had been endorsed repeatedly by the General Assembly. He drew attention to the fact that when the Committee had presented its basic report to the Security Council, the majority of members of the Council had been in favour of adopting it, despite the fact that one permanent member had voted against it.
He wished the Commission success, in particular, in reminding the Government of Israel that it was futile to persist in defying international opinion and United Nations resolutions by continuing to strengthen and expand its illegal settlements and to ignore the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention. He emphasized how appropriate it would be for the Israeli Government to allow the Commission to visit not only the settlements but also the Holy City of Jerusalem, which formed part of the occupied Arab territories in the United Nations sense of the words. The Israeli authorities had recently allowed a mission from the International Labour Organisation to visit the occupied Arab territories and therefore could not deny similar access to a Commission of the Security Council, the most important peace-keeping body of the United Nations.
In visiting both the occupied Arab territories and the battlefield countries, the Commission would meet with representatives of the Palestinian people. He drew attention to the fact that the sole recognized representative of the Palestinian people was the Palestine Liberation Organization; no one could refuse to accept that fact, since the PLO representative had attended Security Council discussions with the same rights as the representatives of Member States.
Israel's arrogant and aggressive attitude must not be allowed to distract the Commission. The-Security Council had decided to send a mission at the current point in time, and the Israeli authorities must allow it to conduct its work properly. That task would not be easy, but he was confident that the Commission would do everything possible to present all the elements of the problem.
Representation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People at Conferences considering the
question of Palestinian Rights
During the months of April and May, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was represented at several international conferences dealing with the Question of Palestine.
At an International Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People organized by the World Peace Council which took place in Basel, Switzerland, from 4-6 May 1979, the Committee was represented by His Excellency Mr. Victor Gauci, Ambassador of Malta, the Rapporteur of the Committee. The statements made by Ambassador Gauci, by Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr. M. Allaf, a message from Mr. Theo C. Van Boven, Director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights, and an Appeal, Programme of Action, Declaration and another declaration on Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories adopted by the Conference are reproduced below.
STATEMENT BY MR. V.J. GAUCI
It is not possible to give in a brief statement a comprehensive account of the evolution of the question of Palestine, before and after it was raised at the United Nations. But it is important to stress that the indigenous population of Palestine looks back, with understandable bitterness, over several decades of violence, eviction from their ancestral homes, property and land. In the case of many hundreds of thousands, they only recollect refugee camps. The land which, within living memory, they and their ancestors had peacefully tilled, is now in alien hands.
It is also important to lay stress on the deliberate distortion in the mass media through their coverage of the events that took place. The average man in the street's knowledge of the events comes through the media, which essentially means that, for the countless millions who are unable to watch events for themselves, they were misinformed. John H. Davis, former Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency put it succintly when he said: "The extent to which the refugees were savagely driven out as part of a deliberate master-plan has been insufficiently recognised."
This deficiency in information has now been rectified by the Palestine Committee. A series of studies on the chronology of events have been published, and a film is in the final stages of production, which will objectively review the past and point out the required remedial action. Copies of some of these studies will be made available during this meeting.
My main purpose today is to give you some background of the work of the Palestine Committee – what it has done, what still remains to be done, and how best this can be achieved.
The task assigned to the Committee was to restore to the disinherited Palestinians the legitimate rights which belong to them. It is obviously a matter in which the United Nations bears a heavy responsibility, since is sanctioned the birth of Israel, but at the same time laid down some conditions to be fulfilled and respected concerning the fundamental rights for the indigenous population. These latter have been grossly violated or completely ignored. After decades of uncertainty, and expressing concern at the lack of progress, the United Nations established our Committee in 1975, requesting us to make recommendations to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including those of self-determination, national independence and sovereignty.
Conscious of this heavy responsibility, and free from pressure of immediate events, the members of the Committee initially set themselves the task of objectively looking into the question and its evolution, and keeping themselves open to all sectors of opinion, within the terms of reference assigned to the Committee. Many Arab States requested and were allowed to participate in the work of the Committee; Israel refused. Nevertheless, the members of the Committee remained and still remain open to all countries at any time, and of course have studied attentively the views expressed by all the parties with special responsibilities in this question. After 36 meetings, the Committee, which works by consensus adopted a report containing specific recommendations, which were founded on legality and morality, and which were designed:
(a) To facilitate in a graduated manner the exercise of the recognised rights of the Palestinian People, and to endorse the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as their representatives
(b) To bring about a peaceful solution satisfactory to all States and peoples in the Middle East
(c) To utilise all the latent possibilities of the United Nations for promoting peace and guaranteeing security in overseeing the process
(d) To abide strictly by international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
In introducing the first report, I asked the General Assembly, at its thirsty session, to study and to determine whether the recommendations of the Committee "fall within the previous decisions of this organisation, whether they serve the required purpose, and whether they respond to the will of the international community". I added that it was important for the Assembly to consider the matter carefully, and then to pronounce its verdict, so that the approach will be fully reflective of international opinion and concern. Both before the Security Council and the General Assembly I asked for any additional proposals or amendments to be incorporated in the recommendations. None were forthcoming. The recommendations were endorsed by the General Assembly "as a basis to the solution of the question of Palestine". The vote was 90 in favour, 16 against and 30 abstentions.
In its second year of existence, it seemed to me that the main task of the Committee was to keep open the forum for discussion; to analyse pertinent comments; to try to convince the remaining doubters and so to consolidate the basis of support; to make better known the realities of the question; to encourage all positive efforts towards the achievements of a Just peace in the area; to strengthen the awakening hopes, and to maintain the emphasis on a peaceful solution which would satisfy legitimate aspirations while allaying genuine preoccupations. The recommendations were unchanged. This time the vote was even more encouraging – 100 in favour, 12 against and 29 abstentions, and at the subsequent session the number was more or less identical, although rumblings of division had already started to make themselves heard. I had requested a unanimous vote, which would truly have been a significant turning point in the history of the region, while recognizing that this was only one factor of the whole Middle East situation.
Unfortunately, this was not forthcoming, so our efforts must continue. Your participation at this meeting would be one more step in this direction. For I have no doubt in my own mind that there is a momentum for theoretical peaceful progress, and consequently room for encouragement. Influential voices in practically all countries are repeatedly laying great stress on the central role of the Palestinian issue within the grave Middle East situation. This sad and long overdue recognition is a factor of fundamental consensus. It is the hope of the Palestine Committee that the studies and the film which it produced recently will shed even further light on the intolerable plight and the just cause of the Palestinian people, and will help to rouse even more the conscience of the international community to what should long have been evident: These people too – intelligent, educated, hard-working but frustrated in their hopes – have a right to dignity in statehood and unfettered progress. Without them, no equitable solution to the Middle East problem can be envisaged or expected to endure.
The Committee is now in its fourth year of existence, and its task remains to promote a peaceful and Just solution to the Palestinian question, under the auspices of the United Nations.
Current events in the region have now reached a critical phase. Events have taken place in the course of the last few months as a result of which some movement has been generated into a formerly static situation. Some of the details arising from these events have only recently been made public and have not yet been thoroughly analysed. The Committee has always recognized that the countries in the area have a primary role to play, and that the recommendations of the Committee would complement their efforts. A sense of urgency has in fact been a consistent theme running through every single communication issued by the Committee since it was first set up, and it has remained an urgent theme throughout the course of the year under review.
The recent Israeli-Egyptian Treaty is not yet before the Committee. We have individually noted the varied and at times conflicting interpretations of the contents which have been given. What I feel is of particular importance at this stage is to consolidate the support which the recommendations of the Committee have already received, and to strengthen even more the base of this support. All the Arab and most of the non-aligned countries have repeatedly endorsed there recommendations. It remains important to extend the basis of support even further, and it therefore follows that the Committee must intensify its effort to make better known, and more accurately understood, the scope of its recommendations, for many important country are still hesitant in their support.
But it surely must be evident to all by now that any proposals, irrespective of their origin, which do not adequately cater for the rights of the disinherited Palestinians can never be considered as an enduring solution to the wider Middle East problem. A comprehensive solution must of necessity provide for the Palestinian people, under the leadership of their recognized representatives, the Palestine Liberation Organization, to take a prominent part in determining their own future. Any attempt to deny to the Palestinians the right to choose their own representatives is an exercise in futility. The Palestine Liberation Organization have already accepted the recommendations of the Committee as a basis for the solution of the Palestine question.
The pressure of international opinion must consequently focus on those who are trespassing on these rights, by their repeated illegal acts in the occupied territories, by their rejections of United Nations recommendations, and by their refusal to halt the shameful repression of the freedom of the Palestinians, wherever they may be situated. The recommendations of the Committee are the only ones so far devised that cover the genuine pre-occupations and interests of all peoples and countries in the Middle East, and have already won international backing. There can no longer be any delay in their implementation, nor any procedural excuses tolerated in denying their validity, or the validity of the findings of many reports – such as those of the Israeli Practices Committee – which objectively show the real nature of events that are taking place against the rights of the Palestinians.
Recently the countries of the European Common Market Jointly declared that they were after a comprehensive Middle East situation which does not ignore the rights of the Palestinian people.
How long are we to continue merely repeating these slogans, and taking no action to see that progress will be made? Palestine is a glaring example of an area where much has been said and little done by those countries whose positive involvement is necessary if real progress is to be achieved. It is on these countries that the efforts of the future should concentrate. World public opinion, especially in the Western world, has to rise to a deafening crescendo demanding justice and peace in quasi-unanimous request for early action. Against such a combination of moral pressure even the most intransigent nation cannot for long remain indifferent, for its own sake and for the sake of the region in which it is situated.
As the preparations for the next follow-up meeting of the CSCE start approaching, the countries of Europe would do well to remember the essential link between events on this part of the Mediterranean, and their pervasive influence of the politico-economic development of Europe, and on their paternalistic attitude in the field of human rights. In particular, the countries of the Mediterranean – most of whom are either members of observers of the Committee on Palestine – have an essential role to play in concert to identify the means and the sectors where co-operation can set the pattern of the future, in replacement of the division and strife that has characterized the past. This essential message has to be spread at the political grass roots through trade unions, student associations, political parties and others. The World Peace Council could render its valuable contribution to this effort. A prescription for peace, a comprehensive solution, a plan of action exists it has the backing of the majority in the international community. What is missing is the political will for action. This is what has to be aroused in the common interest of all.
Speech by Mr. Mowaffak Allaf, Deputy Director General of
________United Nations Office at Geneva_____________
It gives me great pleasure to be able today to address this Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, aiming at the drawing-up of a "concrete programme of action in support of United Nations resolutions on the Palestinian question and of United Nations efforts to bring a Just and durable peace to the Middle East".
The United Nations preoccupation with the question of Palestine goes as far back as to the very inception of the World's organization. It was in 1947, in fact, that the British Government – the occupying and later the mandatory power for more than a quarter of a century – invoking its inability to reconcile the conflicting claims and aspirations of Arabs and Jews in Palestine and its r reluctance to pursue the "unworkable" mandate or to impose a solution of its own on the parties; decided to hand over the whole problem to the newly established United Nations.
Thus the United Nations was confronted with this difficult problem when it was less than two years old. After several weeks of discussion during its first special session (April-May 1947), the General Assembly established a United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) with mandate to submit proposals to the next Second regular session of the General Assembly in September 1947 for the solution of the problem of Palestine.
That second regular session of the General Assembly adopted on 29 November 1947 the fateful resolution 181 (II) which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State and an internationalized city of Jerusalem. That resolution has been implemented only partially as you know. Israel was created in May 1948, but the Palestinian Arab State has never seen the light and the international status of Jerusalem has not been put into effect. Furthermore, as a result of four major wars in the region during the last 32 years, the whole territory of mandatory Palestine came under Israeli occupation in addition to certain parts of Syrian and Egyptian territories.
The United Nations has been exerting tireless efforts during all these years in order to promote a Just and lasting solution to the problem and to alleviate the sufferings of the civilian inhabitants.
The United Nations' two main organs, the General Assembly and the Security Council, have held countless meetings and adopted hundreds of resolutions and decisions on the question of Palestine and on the wider Middle East problem during the more than three decades of its existence. There were two early important General Assembly resolutions: 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, which contained the partition plan, and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, which established the Conciliation Commission for Palestine (CCP) and recognized the right of Palestinian refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours to be permitted to do so, or to be justly compensated if they choose not to return. The bulk of subsequent General Assembly and Security Council resolutions dealt with humanitarian and human rights aspects, armistice, cease-fire, demarcation lines violations and peace-keeping operations in the region.
In the humanitarian domain, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has worked during the last 30 years to help the hundred of thousands of people displaced, uprooted, made homeless by the Arab-Israeli conflict and to provide them with basic services, food, shelter, health-care, education and training.
In addition to this humanitarian role, the United Nations – through the action of the General Assembly and the Security Council has established various peace-keeping operations to neutralize and prevent, to the extent possible, further conflagrations and consequently further suffering of the population. This United Nations role continues to this very day as we are all aware.
With the outbreak of hostilities in June 1967, the United Nations opened yet another chapter in its preoccupation with the Palestine question. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, on 14 June 1967, the Security Council adopted resolution 237 (1967) calling upon the Government of Israel "to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the habitants of the areas where military operations have taken place and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who have fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities". The Security Council recommended scrupulous respect for the humanitarian principles governing the treatment of prisoners-of-war and the protection of civilian persons in time of war contained in the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949.
Later, in December 1968, the General Assembly established the special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories. This special committee has continued to follow the situation of the human rights of the civilian population of the territories occupied in 1967 and has regularly kept the General Assembly informed on this situation. Few weeks ago, the Security Council in its turn established the Commission to Investigate the Establishment of Settlements in the Occupied Territories including Jerusalem.
But the Palestine question continued to be treated, even after the major Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, as principally a "refugee problem". It was not until the early 1970s that the members of the United Nations began to direct their attention to the increasing political awareness of the Palestinian people. This new political approach to the Palestinian problem was clearly manifested in the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly in 1971, when it granted the Palestine Liberation Organization, in its resolution 3237 (XXIX), observer status and invited it to participate in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly or other organs of the United Nations.
However, the real turning point in the United Nations approach to the Palestinian question was expressed, not in the said resolution, but in resolution 3236 (XXIX) adopted by the General Assembly on the same date (22 November 1971), which recognized and spelled out for the first time the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including, their right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced and uprooted. The same resolution recognized also the Palestinian people as a principal party in the establishment of a Just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The Palestine Liberation Organization was also recognized in this resolution – as in numerous subsequent resolutions of the General Assembly – as the representative of the Palestinian people.
The political dimension of the Palestinian question was further enhanced during the following sessions of the General Assembly and the cause of the Palestinian people – as a people entitled to self-determination and to their own national sovereign rights like any other people – gained ever-widening international recognition. At its thirtieth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3375 (XXX), inviting the PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East which are held tinder the auspices of the United Nations. At the same session, another extremely important step in the direction of United Nations efforts to help the Palestinian people regain their national rights was taken. In its resolution 3376 (XXX), the General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People with the task of recommending to the General Assembly a programme of implementation designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise the rights recognized in resolution 3236 (XXIX).
The distinguished Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Gauci, who is amongst us, is much better qualified, I am sure, to inform your honourable conference on the details of the remarkable work done by the Committee and on its important recommendations and their crucial significance to the Palestinian People. These recommendations of the Committee were endorsed and adopted by the General Assembly at its thirty-first session. At the following thirty-second session, the General Assembly reaffirmed its endorsement of these recommendations and requested the Secretary-General to establish within the Secretariat of the United Nations, a special Unit on Palestinian Rights which would prepare studies and publications relating to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the relevant United Nations resolutions on the question and to promote maximum publicity for such studies. In the same resolution, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to organize, commencing in 1978, annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In accordance with this decision, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed for the first time last year on 29 November 1978, both at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kurt Waldheim, addressed a special message on that occasion.
Your conference today, Mr. Chairman, is convened as I said at the beginning of my statement, under the same banner and in pursuance of the same objectives: Solidarity with the Palestinian people and support of United Nations efforts to bring a just and lasting peace to the Middle East.
The United Nations cannot but welcome all sincere and positive endeavours towards such aims and I can think of no better way of concluding my statement, than to quote the following extract of the Secretary-General's aforementioned message on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People last year:
"For some time now, the international community has clearly understood that a just solution of the Palestinian dimension of the Middle East problem is of over-riding importance. It is in this context that the General Assembly last year decided on a programme for the observance of an international day of solidarity with the Palestinian People. By doing so, the General Assembly is desirous of focusing the attention of the international community on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and giving the widest possible exposure to the facts relating to those rights."
For a mixture of compelling reasons, the situation in the. Middle East vitally affects not only international peace and security but the interests of the world community as a whole. Probably no other single subject has so consistently and deeply preoccupied our organization. Four times already since the United Nations was founded, the area has been embroiled in war, with all its tragic consequences for the people of the region and its attendant risks to world peace. However formidable the difficulties are, therefore, we cannot afford to relax for a moment the efforts to find a peaceful way forward. I would like to take this opportunity to underline once again the crucial importance of the Palestine issue in any search for a Just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
Mr. Chairman, I have attempted in this statement to review with you the various aspects of United Nations endeavours to ensure peace and Justice in that unfortunate region of the world. As stated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Palestinian dimension is of over-riding importance in any genuine peaceful and just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The General Assembly has reaffirmed only a few months ago this basic truth in its latest resolution 33/28 on the Palestinian question when it stated:
This remains, we believe, together with the fundamental principle of non-acquisition of territories of others by war, the shortest cut to a Middle East in which all peoples and nations can live in peace, security and harmony.
Message from Mr. Theo C. van Boven, Director of United Nations Division on Human Rights
The concern for human rights of the population of the occupied territories has an important place in the role played by the division of human rights in servicing United Nations bodies. The division furnishes the Secretariat for the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories established by the General Assembly in resolution 2443 (XXXIII) of 19 December 1968. The establishment of that Special Committee itself constitutes a chapter in the concern that the United Nations has had for the human rights of the civilian population of the territories occupied by Israel of the result of the hostilities of June 1967.
The Special Committee has stressed in its reports the need to continue to monitor the situation in the occupied territories in order to safeguard the welfare and human rights of the civilian population. The Special Committee has followed the situation very closely and reports from the occupied territories are gathered and examined every day in order to keep the members of the Special Committee up-to-date on the human rights situation, thus enabling them to evaluate it. At regular intervals, the members of the Special Committee meet to exchange their views of the situation and decide what steps should be taken to further ensure the accuracy and precision of their work and therefore to enhance the chances of its efficacity. Whenever the opportunity presents itself the Special Committee hears oral testimony of persons who had recent and first hand experience of life in the occupied territories, thereby adding to the body of information available to it. The Special Committee follows not only the human rights situation as a whole, but it also concerns itself with the situation of individuals and, for that purpose, it maintains records of case histories that enable it to assess reports on individuals and to determine the kind of action that could be undertaken to alleviate the plight of those persons who may find themselves deprived of the protection envisaged for them in international humanitarian law.
The Special Committee thus regularly requests the division for certain specific services which we are to provide, within our material limitations, in accordance with the criteria set out in article 101 of the charter. In undertaking the implementation of the tasks set by Special Committee, we base ourselves on the conviction that by so doing, we are, albeit in a small way, contributing towards the protection of the civilian population of the territories and we venture to hope that these efforts will eventually become a determining factor in the search for full respect of human rights and for Justice in the Middle East.
The world is witnessing a serious escalation of tension in the Middle East as a result of the continued denial of the inalienable national rights of the Arab people of Palestine.
The denial of the national rights of the Palestinian people for over three decades has plunged the Middle East into four wars, led to untold sufferings and bloodshed, and on several occasions threatened world peace.
The United Nations has affirmed that the Just solution of the Palestine question is the key to the achievement of peace and Justice in the Middle East. The General Assembly has set clearly particularly in its resolution 3236, the basis for a Just solution of the Palestine question calling for complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories since 1967, affirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to establish their own independent sovereign state with foreign interference and the right to return to their homeland in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Any attempts or agreements to solve the Middle East problem outside the United Nations, in disregard of United Nations resolutions and in the absence of the PLO, universally recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, cannot lead to peace, but to further aggravation of tension and sufferings of the peoples of the region.
We appeal to all peoples, governments, parliaments, political parties, trade unions and all other mass organizations to actively work for an effective implementation of the United Nations resolutions on the Palestine question.
We urge the United Nations to use all means at its disposal to put in force, without further delay all its resolutions relating to the Palestine question, particularly the General Assembly resolution 3236.
We pledge ourselves to carry on an unceasing campaign for the mobilization of public opinion on the broadest scale for the achievement of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people – key to peace in the Middle East.
PROGRAMME OF ACTION
The International Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, meeting in Basle from 4 to 6 May 1979* underlines the necessity to mobilize public opinion on the broadest scale for the fulfilment of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people as recognized by the United Nations. Toward this end, the following suggestions were presented and all political parties and mass organizations were invited to co-operate in the realization of these actions, each according to its conditions and possibilities:
1. The dissemination on the broadest possible scale of the documents of the Conference;
2. The organization of campaigns of information on the national levels to explain the nature of the struggle of the Palestinian people;
3. The setting up of broad solidarity committees with the Palestinian people in countries where such committees do not exist;
4. Co-operation with the United Nations and all its bodies dealing with the Palestine question, particularly the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Ad Hoc Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Arab Territories, the Special Unit on Palestine;
5. Urging Governments to exert political and economic pressure on the Israeli Government to put an end to its violation of human rights in the occupied territories;
6. Urging public opinion to campaign for a special session of the General Assembly to give urgent consideration to all aspects of the Palestine question, particularly that one of the aims of the United States-Egypt-Israel pact is removing the Palestine question from the United Nations and the international arena;
7. The organization of national, regional and international meetings, seminars, and conferences on the various aspects of the Palestine question and Israeli Practices in the occupied territories, particularly on Israeli colonization of the occupied territories;
8. The organization of visits by Palestinian delegations to various countries, namely in Western Europe and Latin America to expose the policy and practices of the Israeli authorities and propagate the cause of the Palestinian people;
9. The waging of an information campaign exposing the nature of the Camp David accords and the Israeli-Egyptian Treaty and their effect on the Palestinian people;
10. The special attention be paid during this year which has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Child, to the conditions of the Palestinian children;
11. The establishment of a broad international continuation committee, open to all political forces and mass organizations supporting the Palestinian people, capable of continuing the work started at this Conference and developing the solidarity movement with the Palestinian People.
The International Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held in Basle, Switzerland, from 4 to 6 May 1979, at the invitation of the World Peace Council, with the participation of 200 delegates representing different political parties, trade unions, women, youth and other mass organizations, expresses its deep concern at the recent developments in the Middle East.
The Conference believes that the Camp David accords and the recently signed Egyptian-Israeli Treaty concluded with the direct participation of the United States of America, constitutes a serious escalation of imperialist conspiracies in the area, increasing tension and the danger of new aggressions. They violate the basis for the achievement of a Just peace in the Middle East outlined in the resolutions of the United Nations, namely total Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, the fullfilment of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self-determination, to return to their homeland and to establish their own independent and sovereign state.
This separatist deal constitutes a new imperialist military alliance between Egypt, Israel and the United States designed to assure United States imperialist military presence and preserve United States interests in the area.
The Conference believes that the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty constitute an attempt to legalise and perpetuate Israeli occupation of the Arab territories. They ignore the Palestine-problem, the key issue in the Middle East crisis, the problem of Arab Jerusalem annexed by Israel in defiance of the United Nations, and by pass the Palestine Liberation Organisation, in an attempt to undermine both the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and the PLO, universally recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The self-rule project contained in these agreements which has been rejected by the people in the occupied territories is a total denial of the national rights of the Palestinian people recognized by the United Nations and an attempt to create an alternative to the PLO.
The Conference draws attention to the serious aggravation of the situation in the Lebanon in the wake of these agreements – the creation by the isolationist forces of an "independent state" in the areas occupied by Israel in South Lebanon and the renewal of Israeli aggression on Lebanon.
The Conference strongly condemns this separatist deal and declares its unreserved support to the measures decided upon at the Baghdad meeting of Arab Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Economy.
The Conference further declares its support to the Arab peoples in their rejection of these agreements and in their struggle for a just and durable peace in the Middle East based on the implementation of the United Rations resolutions.
Declaration on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Arab Territories
The International Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held in Basle, Switzerland, from 4 to 6 May 1979 at the invitation of the World Peace Council, having reviewed the grave situation in the Israeli occupied territories and having heard reports from representatives of the Palestinian people inside and outside the occupied Arab territories, including Mayors of cities in the West Bank, recently released Palestinian prisoners from Israeli Jails, and representatives of the Israeli peace forces, notes that:
The situation in the occupied Arab territories has been aggravated after the Camp David agreements and the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty. This aggravation is particularly characterised by the intensification of Israeli colonization and expropriation of Arab land which has assumed new dimensions.
Israeli continued violation of human rights have since multiplied. Hundreds of men, women and even school children have been arrested, brutally tortured and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment simply for opposition to occupation and the Camp David agreements. Demonstrations were brutally suppressed resulting in the killing of several persons and the wounding of many others. Israeli settlers in the occupied territories have joined hands with the Israeli armed forces and actively participated in all these practices.
Israeli persistent violations of the Universal Declaration and International Covenants on Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions is exemplified by the use on a large scale of collective punishment (demolition of houses, imposition of prolonged curfew, sealing off of refugee camps, closing down of schools, etc.) arbitrary transfer of inhabitants from their localities, deportation of people, denial of the rights of association and assembly, censorship, the prohibition of mayors and other personalities from taking part in political, social and cultural activities and other similar measures.
The Conference notes with grave concern that since the Camp David agreements Israel is openly taking steps for the ultimate annexation of the whole occupied territories. Having annexed Arab Jerusalem in 1967 in defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions, it is now proceeding to empty the city of its Arab inhabitants by various devious measures, such as high taxation, refusal to grant permission to build on one's land, offering various advantages to would-be Arab emigrants, etc.
The Conference strongly condemns Israel's expansionist and inhuman practices directed against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, and greets their perseverance and resistance. It appeals to all peoples, governments, political parties, religious institutions, trade unions, professional associations, youth and student movements and all peace forces to take concrete actions against colonization of Arab territories and Israel's persistent violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories.
The Committee was also represented at a conference in Prague, organized by the World Peace Council's Presidential Committee to celebrate this year, the Thirtieth Anniversary of the International Peace Movement and the foundation of the World Peace Council from 25-27 April 1979; at a conference sponsored by the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in Chicago from 18-20 May 1979, and at a Symposium on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Arab World organized in Baghdad from 18-21 May 1979 by the Union of Arab Jurists at which the legal aspects of the question of Palestinian rights were considered. Statements were made on behalf of the Committee by His Excellency, Ambassador Victor Gauci of Malta, the Rapporteur of the Committee at the conference in Prague, and by Mr. Saliah B. Kouyate of Guinea and Mr. Goran H. Kapetanovic of Yugoslavia, members of the Committee, in Baghdad.
Economic and Social Council adopts resolution on the Question of Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories including Palestine
On May 10 the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution as recommended by its Second (Social) Committee on the Question of Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories including Palestine. In that resolution the Council commended the Commission on Human Rights for its vigilance and its decisions for the protection for human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, and requested the Commission to pursue its efforts for the protection of human rights in the occupied territories, including Palestine, and to continue to take the appropriate measures in this respect. The action taken by the human rights Commission was reported in Bulletin No. 3.
Second International Labour Organisation mission conducts on-the-spot examination of situation of workers in Occupied Arab Territories
A second International Labour Organisation (ILO) on-the-spot mission has reported on the situation of workers in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and on measures taken by the Israel authorities to implement recommendations which had been made by last year's mission to the same areas.
These include a decision to reallocate to their own areas revenue from income tax paid by Arab workers from the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel. However, seeking to give as comprehensive and objective a picture as possible, the mission, headed by Assistant Director-General Nicholas Valticos, viewed the employment situation in the occupied Arab territories as a matter of serious concern and stressed the need for an investment and manpower policy corresponding to the specific requirements of the population.
Absence of such a policy, it said, seriously jeopardizes further prospects of the currently occupied Arab territories.
The three-man mission, which met with employers, workers, Arab and Israel officials, academics and military administrators in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and Golan, said that it was constantly aware of the fact that the matters it was called upon to examine had to be placed in the context of the state of occupation. In particular, in respect of Freedom of Association, the authorities keep a close watch over trade union organizations in the occupied Arab territories and stand in their way when they consider that their trade union activities are straying from labour to political matters.
The mission pointed out that the authorities should not intervene in union activities designed to protect the interests of their members and recommend that the situation of those exposed to repressive measures be examined rapidly to ensure that there is no link with the exercise of legitimate trade union activity.
– Recalling the concern expressed in its previous report concerning the difficulties encountered by Arab workers from the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel to exercise the right to organize, the mission noted the
intention of the Histadrut the Israel Trade Union Confederation — better to inform these workers of their right to join existing unions or form new ones.
The mission was also told by employers that workers from these territories could be represented in workers committees. It encouraged the Histadrut to continue to devote particular attention to this problem and to help in solving it. A sense of inequality and alienation was detected by the mission among the workers of the occupied Arab territories and it stressed the need to recognize their identity and personal dignity.
The mission reported an Israel response to its earlier recommendations on a number of social subjects. Last year the mission had drawn attention to the practice of using "irregular" labour from the occupied Arab territories outside the official employment system. It reported this year that a special committee of the Ministry of Labour and Histadrut had been set up and that the proportion of "regular" workers had increased by 10 per cent.
Although this was not a negligible achievement, it expressed the view that this still fell short of the mark. Some 20,000 workers, of a quarter of the total coming to Israel from the occupied Arab territories, were outside the official system and open to exploitation. The mission recommended further efforts to combat the problem.
Some 20 per cent of the irregular workers from occupied Arab territories employed in Israel were minors, the report says. While noting that two ordinances had been adopted following the first ILO mission which raised the minimum age for employment to 14 in Gaza and on the West Bank, the mission stated that the frequent infringements called for effective labour inspection and that suitable penalties should be fixed and applied.
The estimated 75,000 Arab workers from the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel are not permitted to reside there. Following the earlier mission's proposals for compensation for longer travelling time, the Israel services indicated that this was in many cases provided for in the form of overtime payments. However, the latest mission repeated its recommendation for payment of allowances for abnormally long travel time.
The workers from the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel have deductions made from their wages under the Israel social security scheme. However, they are not entitled to all the benefits because some of them are payable only to residents of Israel. The considerable sums thus accumulating — 250 million Israeli pounds last year — are used for de development projects and social services in the occupied Arab territories.
The mission believes that it would be appropriate to maintain the fundamental principles that the contributions should be used for the specific purpose for which they were intended.' In other words for payment of social security benefits. The workers, it stressed, must be entitled to all benefits which correspond to all the contributions paid in respect of their employment in Israel.
The mission was pleased to note the Israel decision taken following the first ILO mission to include within the budget of the occupied Arab territories tax revenue paid in Israel by workers from these territories amounting to 200 million Israeli pounds in 1978.
Observing that no coherent employment policy was possible without simultaneous vocational training measures, the mission recorded that 33,400 trainees had received diplomas between 1968 and 1977. Both the length and the number of courses had increased but the training centres only partially benefited the occupied Arab territories themselves.
The reason was demonstrated by the example of one West Bank centre where only 20 per cent of students completing a course were able to find employment in the territories. Half the remainder left for work in Israel and the other half in the Arab countries. The mission believes that the training policy needs to be expanded to raise the skills of the local labour force from- a level at which it merely equips it to find semi-skilled jobs in the Israel economy.
The report was submitted to the International Labour Conference by the ILO Director-General Francis Blanchard who said he would continue to follow the situation and inform the Conference of future developments.
Communiqués issued by the Co-ordinating Bureau of the
Non-Aligned Countries concerning the Question of Palestine
Two communiqués dated 3 April and 9 May 1979 issued by the Co-ordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries concerning the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East are reproduced below (documents A/34/161-S/13217 and A/34/227-S/13307):
Communiqué issued on 3 April 1979 by the Co-ordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries
The Co-ordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries deems it imperative to issue the following communique to reiterate the position of the non-aligned countries:
1. At the end of their Conference, held at Belgrade from 25 to 30 July 1978 (see A/33/206), the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries affirmed that a just peace in the Middle East could not be established except within the framework of a solution based on total Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories and on the basis of restoring to the Palestinian people their national, legal and inalienable rights and the right to practise these rights, including the right to repatriation, self-determination and setting up their national and independent state in Palestine, independent and equal participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, in all conferences and international activities and spheres concerned with the Palestinian problem and offering all forms of support to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Arab States in their struggle to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories.
2. The Conference also affirmed that the attempts and endeavours of the United States of America to liquidate the Palestine issue and its assistance to Israel in realizing its expansionist, imperialistic and racist policy in occupied Palestine, through encouragement of bilateral and partial solutions, would not lead to a just solution of the problem. Therefore, the Conference condemned such policies, attempts and endeavours and called for resistance to them. The Conference also stressed the right of the Palestine Liberation Organization to reject all forms of settlements, projects and solutions aiming at the liquidation of the Palestine question and denying the national rights of the Palestinian people.
3. The Ministers appealed in particular to the Security Council to undertake effective measures, some of which are stipulated in Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, to compel Israel to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations.
4. The members of the Co-ordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries recall General Assembly resolutions 33/29 and 33/28, in which the Assembly, inter alia, called for the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, with the participation on an equal footing of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX). Furthermore, the General Assembly declared that the validity of agreements purporting to solve the problem of Palestine required that they be within the framework of the United Nations and its Charter and its resolutions on the basis of the full attainment and exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, and with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Communiqué issued on 9 May 1979 on behalf
of the Co-ordinating Bureau of Hon-Aligned Countries
1. The Co-ordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries, alarmed by the Israeli invasion of the territory of Lebanon, expressed its condemnation of Israel for its continued violation of the territorial integrity of Lebanon. The Bureau views with grave concern the recent escalation and intensification of Israeli armed attacks on Lebanon and on the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanese territory, resulting in great loss of life, particularly of women and children, and destruction of property.
2. The Bureau also expresses its concern for the safety of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
3. The Bureau calls on the Security Council to take all effective steps as prescribed under the Charter of the United Nations to put an end to such Israeli accession and to restore full Lebanese authority and sovereignty over its territory within the internationally recognized boundaries.
During the months of April and May 1979 the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations addressed letters concerning new settlements in the Occupied Arab Territories to the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Letter dated 25 April 1979
Upon instructions of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation I wish to bring the following to your attention. It was reported in The New York Times of today 25 April 1979,
… the Israeli government has resumed the creation of West Bank settlements. Their appearance is bound to inflame passions throughout the region and make accommodation still more difficult,
It is symbolically interesting that one of the new settlements formally approved by Prime Minister Benin's Cabinet is to be at Shiloh; 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. When this encampment was first staked out two years ago by groups favoring annexation of the West Bank, the Cabinet took unbrace at foreign criticism and elaborately denied any political motive. This was no settlement, it said- only an archeological dig Well 3 there was no dig, and now there is to be a settlement after all.
In another article in The New York Times on 24 April 1979- it was reported that the United States maintained that Menachem Begin has pledge, not to create new settlements until negotiations on Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank-and Gaza have been completed. Begin however has denied giving such a pledge. He contended that he agreed only to a three-month freeze on new settlements and that the freeze ended in December. Israel has disregarded American warnings and gone ahead to approve the creation of two more Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank.
It was reported by Anthony Lewis in an article in The New York Times on 19 April 1979, that Ariel Sharon the Minister of Agriculture, "…talks about moving in 27,000 settler-families over the next three years".
In the context of the above-Mentioned developments, it is appropriate to refer to Security Council resolution 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979 which
"1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, have no validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive just and lasting peace in the Middle East'"
and to the statement by the President of the Security Council on behalf of the Council in document S/PV.1969 of 11 November 1976:
The persistent and unrelenting policy of the Zionist movement to disregard and completely ignore Security Council resolutions is another manifestation of their determination to pursue their aggressive policy against the Palestinian people. It is therefore only natural and legitimate that the Palestinian people should confront this present policy by all means available including armed struggle.
I am instructed to inform you that the Palestine Liberation Organization holds the Government of Israel solely responsible or the re-eruption of the circle of violence that is constituting a threat to international peace and security, and calls upon you to take all measures as provided by the Charter of the United Rations in order to eliminate the root cause of this phenomenon, namely, termination of the prolongation of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the recognition and exercise of the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in its own country, Palestine.
(Signed) Zehdi Labib TERZI
Letter dated 17 May 1979
With reference to Security Council resolution 446 of 22 March 1979, I would like to draw your attention to an article in the Hew York Times of 17 Hay 1979 in which it was reported that Israeli President Yitzak Navon had visited Zionist settlements concentrated around the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, on 16 May 1979. A visit which was seen as assurance of the Israeli right to establish new settlements in occupied Palestinian territory occupied in 1967. He told Zionist settlers he was certain they could remain in their new homes permanently.
In the same article, Professor Raanan Weitz, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency's Settlements Department, warned against the establishment of settlements consisting of only a few hundred residents and urged instead the building of new towns of at least 59000 families each.
These statements confirm the racist Zionist entity's intent to pursue its illegal occupation and colonization of Palestine in total disregard and contempt of United Nations resolutions and international opinion and at the expense of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.
I call on you to take immediate and effective measures to put an end to these illegal acts which aggravate the tensions in the area.
(Signed) Zehdi TERZI
Letter dated 17 May 1979
I would like to bring to your immediate attention an article in the Jerusalem Post International of 13-16 May 1979, in which it was reported that Zionist settlers 10 families and two singles – had moved into Kfar Darom in the occupied Gaza Strip, with the sole intention of establishing a new moshav in the nearby area. Veteran settlers in the area are demanding the establishment of even more settlements in the occupied Gaza Strip to reduce their so-called "sense of isolation" in a densely populated Palestinian area.
There is no doubt that this illegal and blatantly provocative act is but further confirmation that the racist Zionist entity in occupied Palestine intends to pursue its policy of colonizing Palestinian land with settlements in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous United Nations resolutions, with special reference to Security Council resolution 446 (1979) calling on Israel to desist from such policies.
In drawing your attention to this serious situation I express the hope that you will take immediate and effective measures to put an end to these racist and malicious acts, thereby safeguarding the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.
(Signed) Zehdi TERZI
Similar letters addressed to the President of the Security Council have been published as documents S/13273 and S/13341.
Document Type: Bulletin, Monthly Bulletin, Publication
Document Sources: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR), Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), International Labour Office (ILO), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)(See also - Committee on Palestine), Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (SUPR) (See also - CEIRPP > DPR)
Subject: Economic issues, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Palestine question, Settlements, Social issues
Publication Date: 01/04/1979