SPECIAL UNIT ON
VOLUME III – BULLETIN No. 11-12
1. Action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
During this period the Committee kept under review recent events in connexion with the observance of the Palestine Week in the occupied territories and through its Chairman drew the attention of the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council to those and other matters. The texts of these letters are reproduced in this bulletin.
The Chairman also addressed letters to the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General expressing the Committee's great concern at Israel's continued defiance of Security Council resolution by refusing to permit the Mayors of Halhoul and Hebron to return to their homes. The text of these letters are reproduced below.
On 20 November 1980, the Working Group of the Committee heard a statement made by Mr. Nowi Abdul Razzak, Acting Chairman of the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization on the Palestine Question.
The Chairman of the Committee attended the meeting of the International Progress Organization (IPO) in Vienna, Austria, from 5 to 7 November 1980.
Letter dated 19 November 1980 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to the Secretary-General (S/14261)
In my capacity as Acting Chairman of the' Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People I have the honour to convey the Committee's deep concern at the most recently reported outrage by the Government of Israel in the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel.
Reports from the area speak of the inhuman wounding of 11 students of Beir Zeit University by gunfire from Israeli military forces who had fired into the university campus as the students were demonstrating against the closure of the University to prevent observance by the University of Palestine Week.
This latest violation of basic international law is yet another outstanding example of Government-sponsored terrorism aimed at Palestinian youth. The attitude of the Israeli authorities is particularly offensive if the report is to be believed that live ammunition was used as a matter of policy, when rubber bullets could have been used Just as effectively. On this occasion, the Israeli authorities appear to have unleashed a blatantly terrorist act without even seeking the spurious shelter of "national security", which they have frequently done in the past to Justify similar acts of terrorism.
It is clear that the Government of Israel now feels confident of its ability to defy international opinion with impunity and that such instances all continue to occur with increasing frequency unless firm action is taken to prevent a recurrence.
In this connexion I wish to draw attention to paragraphs 113 to 115 of the annex to the report of the Secretary-General on living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Arab territories (A/35/533 and Corr.1) where reference is made to the banning by the Government of Israel of certain books and the exclusion of passages from others, which made it difficult for students in the occupied territories to appreciate certain aspects of their culture and history. The report also refers to the constant harassment of students and staff in the form of frequent arrests, beatings and administrative detentions, and the closure of schools.
It is clear that these extreme actions are intended not to preserve national security but to deprive, illegally, the inhabitants of the occupied territories of all their links to their cultural and national heritage.
It should be brought to the attention of the Government of Israel that such policies are a violation of the established principles of international law in general and of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 1/ in particular, and persistence in such policies can only exacerbate tensions in the area and constitutes a threat to peace and security.
I shall be glad if you will. have this letter circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 24, and of the Security Council.
1/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973, p. 287.
Letter dated 8 December 1980 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People addressed to the Secretary-General (S/14291)
In my capacity as 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 19 November 1980 (A/35/648-S/14261), addressed to you by the Acting Chairman of the Committee, concerning the outrage attack by the Israeli Government in the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel.
The Israeli Government, not content with firing on the students of Beir Zeit University, has now given further proof of its arrogance and disregard for world public opinion by arresting Mr. Gabbi Baramki, President of Beir Zeit University, probably under the pretext that he allowed the students to observe a "Palestine Week".
It is obvious that the Israeli authorities have now stopped pretending that they were guided by national security requirements on that occasion, and that they are overtly repressing any attempt by the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories to express their political opinions. That is simply one more example of the violation by Israel of the fundamental principles of international law.
The Committee is seriously concerned about the pursuit by the Israeli Government of such a policy, which is bound to exacerbate tension in the region and constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.
I should be obliged if you would have the text of this letter distributed as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 24, and of the Security Council.
Letter dated 9 December 1980 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to the Secretary-General (S/14292)
I have the honour to refer to my letter dated 24 October 1980 (A/35/565-S/14235) regarding the action taken by the Government of Israel in respect of the Mayors of Al-Khalil (Hebron) and Halhul whom it had illegally expelled from the occupied territories.
As is now known, the Government of Israel has insisted on maintaining its defiance of Security Council resolutions 468 (1980) and 469 (1980) and has confirmed its previous illegal decision to expel the two Mayors.
On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I wish to express our gravest concern at this continued defiance by the Israeli authorities of international opinion and of the resolutions of the Security Council. It is now more than ever clear that it should be forcefully brought to the notice of the Government of Israel that it should abide by its obligations to this Organization.
Such defiance and the repeated display of cynicism and arrogance on the part of Israel should be strongly censured by the international community and firm action should be taken by the Security Council in insisting that the Mayors should be permitted to return to their homes and families, in accordance with the specific requests contained in Security Council resolutions 468 (1960) and 469 (1930).
I should be glad if this letter were circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 24, and of the Security Council.
2. Consideration of the question of Palestine in the 35th Session of the General Assembly
The question of Palestine was considered by the 35th Session of the General Assembly between 1 and 4 December 1980. The Chairman of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Falilou Kane and the Rapporteur Ambassador Victor J. Gauci, made statements (full text below).
Sixty countries spoke in the general debate in the plenary. A great number of representatives expressed the opinion that a political settlement with the direct participation of all the parties concerned including the Palestinian Liberation Organization should be reached and that the consequences of failure would threaten world peace. They also reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories. They condemned Israel's unilateral policy on the status of Jerusalem and its denial to abide by the United Nations resolutions. Several countries called for urgent implementation of United Nations resolutions.
The result of the vote of the resolutions concerning the question of Palestine adopted by the thirty-fifth session of the General Assembly was the following:
Resolution 35/169 A adopted by 98 in favour, 16 against with 32 abstentions;
Resolution 35/169 B adopted by 86 in favour, 22 against with 40 abstentions;
Resolution 35/169 C adopted by 120 in favour, 3 against with 23 abstentions;
Resolution 35/169 D adopted by 120 in favour, 4 against with 23 abstentions;
Resolution 35/169 E adopted by 143 in favour, 1 against with 4 abstentions.
The full text of these resolutions and others relating to the question of Palestine and Palestinian rights which were adopted by the thirty-fifth session of the General Assembly will be published in a subsequent issue of the Bulletin.
Statement made by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Mr. Falilou KANE
At the moment of the opening of this debate one thing must be noted: while, since the end of the Second World War and the creation of our Organization, major conflicts have broken out and have even led to the brink of conflagration, all those conflicts have been resolved with the help of time and thanks to the diplomacy and the spirit of conciliation of the political leaders of the parties involved. The affairs of Berlin, Korea, Suez, Viet Nam, Panama and, nearer home, Rhodesia – Zimbabwe – are no longer the subject of debate in the General Assembly or in the Security Council. However, those questions gave rise to human tragedies and caused much bloodshed. They filled the newspaper headlines and monopolized discussions in the major foreign ministries for many years. If they are brought up today it is perhaps in the limited circles of historians, diplomats or students of diplomatic.
Unfortunately , that is not the case with the Palestinian question, even 33 years after the partitioning of Palestine, which was decided upon with the adoption of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947.
Those who do not know about this question accuse the United Nations of a failure and an incapacity to resolve the major problems of our time. The media for their part too easily sound the trumpet of defeat and make the accusations, often manipulated by hidden interests.
For a long time the world has closed its eyes to the Palestinian reality and has stopped its ears so as not to hear the cries of despair of the Palestinian people or listen to the screams of a suffering people. Such an attitude is no longer possible at the present time, and to ignore the situation in occupied Palestine today is to show culpable political blindness.
The General Assembly, with the creation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, intended to change the perception people had of the question and to place it in its proper perspective. Dealt with yesterday as a simple question of refugees, the Palestinian question today is of pre-eminent importance in the work of the United Nations, since it feeds the debates of all international organizations, governmental or otherwise, that have any influence on the affairs of the world. The question facing the human conscience with respect to the Palestinian problem can no longer be reduced to banality, as it was at the outset by the Zionist slogan: "A land without people and a people without land". We are no longer at a stage when the Prime Minister of Israel is so lacking in shame as to say: "Who are the Palestinian people? I have never heard of them. They do not exist."
We must continue to deplore the fact that in Europe and North America, where paradoxically the communication media are the most sophisticated, the-Palestinians and their liberation struggle are presented in an unfavourable light, and their legitimate aspirations and inalienable rights have been passed over in silence or distorted.
We know the reason for that. It is, first of all, the shortness of view and the lack of imagination of the Israeli leaders, who thought that it was enough to ignore a problem for that problem to be resolved, that it was enough for the Palestinians to be integrated in the Arab countries where they had taken refuge for there to be no more talk of a Palestinian question. Today that shortness of view leads those leaders to think that the unfortunate war between Iran and Iraq or the dissension in the Arab world, where unfortunately there are clouds gathering today over two neighbouring countries gives the Begin Government and Israel a respite.
In the second place, the reason is the failure of the mass media in general and in particular the major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post and the major United States television networks , NEC , CBS and ABC, which are "dominated by Jews". Those are not my words but the words of Mr. Nahum Goldman, in an interview he gave and which was published in Jeune Afrique, issue No. 1034, of 29 October 1980.
In the third place, it is the anti-Arab Zionist propaganda, which is the corollary of arrogance and which has consistently presented everything that is Arab and a fortiori Palestinian as being vengeful and aimed at throwing the Jews into the sea.
In the fourth place, that same propaganda continues to hold Europeans responsible for what happened to the Jews during the Nazi reign and to make people believe that, if Israel were not sustained and protected by them, the spectre of anti-Semitic pogroms could return. Clearly, the Zionists wish to hold the conscience of part of mankind hostage forever. We must recognize that if there has been remorse it must not be indefinitely passed on to generations that had no responsibility for events that took place at the time of the Third Reich. Under the pretext that one injustice was committed against a-people, something that any civilized person regrets and deplores, we must not ourselves commit another injustice against another people. Israel wishes to put its existence and its security before those of all its Arab neighbours and of the Palestinians. We cannot grant that country exorbitant rights when it does not itself respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, especially when it continues to violate international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Indeed, since its admission to the United Nations, although it entered into a commitment to observe its rules, Israel has ridden rough-shod over everything that does not accord with its own ambitions and its own interests – that is to say, expansion "from the Nile to the Euphrates. It was not content with the territory it obtained because of the partitioning of Palestine. It sought to expand it at the cost of wars of aggression, faits accomplis, expulsions and impoverishment of the Arabs and the Palestinians. Today it occupies the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Holy City of Jerusalem, part cf Egyptian Sinai and the Golan Heights, which we are told are the subject cf a draft bill which aims at annexing the Golan Heights. All this is done in flagrant violation of resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly and in contradiction of international law and the conventions signed by Israel.
Today, as yesterday, the leaders of Israel do not wish to sign or commit themselves to any legal instrument that would prevent them from expanding their territory. They do not wish to establish safe and secure boundaries to the country, for they wish to be able at every opportunity to change them to the detriment of neighbouring countries.
Today the case of Lebanon is clear in the memory of all. The Camp David agreements and the Washington treaty did not stop Israel from continuing to establish settlements in the occupied territories or from pursuing its programme of the Zionization of Jerusalem by encircling the old city with a ring of buildings. On this subject it is instructive to read extracts from the memoirs of Moshe Sharett in the book Israel's Sacred Terrorism by Iavia Rokach, published in 1980 at Belmont, Massachusetts by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates. Terrorism, provocation and extortion have become established as a method of government. The former leaders of the Irgun and the Stern gang are today the Minister of Foreign Affairs and tho Prime Minister of Israel. That book also shows that at that time Israel refused to enter into a security pact. Similarly we find in those memoirs that a plan had already been set up at that stage for the destabilization of Lebanon. It is instructive too to quote Dayan's remarks at the time, also found in that book:
These writings are dated 28 May 1954, so they are not the words of today. But, if we look at what is going on today in southern Lebanon with Major Haddad, we may realize that this is no mere coincidence, but rather the culmination of a plan of action long drawn up and developed by the Israeli leaders. It is serious and disturbing when there exists in a State a conspiracy of silence and injustice. Again, it was Mr. Moshe Sharett who said at a meeting of the Mapai secretariat on 11 January 1961 that
Our Organization would rightly be accused of weakness if today it were to be satisfied with simple verbal condemnations. It is not normal for a State that owes its existence to international law to turn its back on that very law.
Yet that is what we note with regard to the Zionist State of Israel. Can we tolerate its presence in our midst when, at the same time, we witness its lack of respect for the obligations it has assumed as a Member of the United Nations? None the less, the provisions of Article b and of the preamble to the Charter are clear, and Israel, upon becoming a Member, accepted the obligations of the Charter and undertook to honour them, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 273 (III) admitting Israel to membership in the Lira United Nations.
those are the provisions contained in the preamble to the Charter which the Zionist State is obviously not respecting. That is sufficient proof that at the present time, and unless there is a radical change in its conduct, we cannot expect anything from Israeli:
And how long can this go on? Everyone is asking that question as we are beginning this debate.
The persistent negative attitude of Israel with regard to the consideration of the question of Palestine must not distract us from fulfilling our responsibilities. The recommendations of our Committee indicate the path proposed to this Assembly.
In exercising the chairmanship of the Committee since the beginning of this year I have had the privilege of meeting, during conferences and gatherings in which I was allowed to participate, persons from all circles, of various beliefs and different races, Palestinians and Jews, whether Israelis or not, all of whom were moved by a willingness to find a just solution to this painful problem within the framework of the United Nations.
I believe that we should not now be satisfied with reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return to its homeland and to create a sovereign State. We can do more here by deciding to create the legal instruments to enable those rights to be effectively exercised by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Similarly, I believe that, on the basis of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) creating the Jewish and Palestinian States, we can find the legal act giving birth to the Palestinian State by spelling out its geographical limits. With regard to Jerusalem, we can also take up again in the Trusteeship Council the discussion on setting up the corpus separatum statute from where it was went at the time. Thus we shall not wait for an illegal act to be committed by Israel in order to react after the fact. We shall be positioning ourselves on the offensive rather than the defensive. There is nothing against that when this Assembly has right on its side in the face of arrogance and injustice. There is a comparison to be made here. If the Nazi crimes and atrocities had not aroused indignation and the conscience of mankind, and if the Western European countries whose integrity and independence had been violated by Hitler's Germany had not allied themselves to confront the enemy, no doubt today we should not be speaking of Israel, but many of us would not be here as independent and free nations.
Similarly, Zionism, which pursues ideals that are not in keeping with chose of the community of nations and are incompatible with those of the Charter – namely, the equality of races and religions – is Just as dangerous and pernicious as apartheid and racism; we must mobilize to fight it if we wish to save peace.
In the occupied territories the Israeli leaders are behaving in an unspeakable manner and violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12- August 19^9 on the protection Of civilians in time of war. Expulsion, torture and illegal acts of all kinds are the coin of the realm. Elected Palestinians are deported. That has been the case with the Arab mayors of Jerusalem-since 1973, the mayors of Hebron and Halhul and the magistrate of Halhul this year. Other elected officials nave been the target of heinous criminal attempts ordered by the Israeli Government. Schools and universities are being Judaized and, as we know, the press daily reports injuries to students in peaceful unarmed demonstrations milling for freedom for Palestine. Iniquitous laws and regulations are adopted in order to pacify the population of the occupied territories in the hope of stifling their awareness. It is tine to carry out a comprehensive campaign for the protection of those populations and to ensure that they are not subjected to the provocations of the Zionist State.
In this connexion we are proposing the holding of an international conference on the question of respect for human rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. The seminar which our Committee organized in Vienna in August 1980 adopted that ideal The Conference could be held with the participation of all voluntary and non-governmental organizations as well as of persons working in this field.
More and more disturbing facts and events are being made known in spite of Israel's refusal to allow on its territory the Commission of the Security Council established under resolution 446 (1979) and the General Assembly Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights the Population of the Occupied Territories. That Committee's report, submitted in document A/35/425 of 6 October 1980, provides eloquent testimony on the list of all the illegal actions committed by the Israeli Government.
For its part the International Commission of Jurists has Just published an important study entitled The West Bank and the Rule of Law. We also have in our possession publications of the Israeli League of Human Rights and Civilian Liberties which describe the daily violations by the Israeli Government of human rights in the fields of religion and labour, not to mention collective reprisals and the destruction of villages under any pretext.
Israel and those that continue to support it should understand that one cannot stop the waves or the storm from rolling in merely by lifting a hand: that Israel, because of its intransigence, is itself in the process of sawing off the branch on which it rests. A wind of change is blowing, and only the blind do not recognize that.
With the holding of the Venice summit meeting on 12 and 13 June 1930, Europe took a large step towards recognition of the fact that peace and security in the Middle East can be achieved only by the application of the United Nations resolutions that call for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination, with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization – the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people – and after Israel's complete withdrawal from all the occupied territories. The search for truth and justice will undoubtedly lead the countries of the old continent to continue to move forward by taking a more active part in international relations.
The Council of Europe, which is opening a session today in Luxembourg, is to follow up Mr. Gaston Thorn's mission to the Near East and will, we hope, take a new step towards an initiative that could contribute to a solution of the Arab-Israel conflict.
The affirmative vote cast by those countries in the Security Council, on 20 August last, on resolution 478 (1960) and the renewal on 12 and 13 November last of the European-Arab dialogue, particularly on the political problems, are acts that can be interpreted favourably and that we Regard as very encouraging signs.
Many respectable and influential organizations are showing an ever-increasing interest in the search for a just and over-all solution. In that respect, it is significant to note that the participants in a meeting held in Vienna under the auspices of the International Organization for Progress – and they included important persons from more than 30 countries – reached agreement on what we regard as the essential point: recognition of the legitimate right of the Palestinians to establish their own State, and negotiations among all the concerned parties in order to find a solution to the Middle East conflict.
Other organizations and other voices will be heard in future in the attempt to make Israel listen to reason. We are comforted by the growing interest that the most varied circles are showing in our Committee's studies our work. We are approached by student organizations and parliamentarians in many countries. That is proof that a favourable change is taking place in public opinion. That change should have an effect on opinion within Israel and should make Israel's leaders open their eyes and not remain frozen in a sterile attitude.
A just, over-all, peaceful solution to the conflict: that is and has always been the desire of this Assembly, the desire of the Committee over which I have the honour to preside. The Assembly has amply demonstrated that by its patience. For 33 years it has considered and reconsidered the question from all angles: resolutions, conciliation and arbitration commissions, good-offices missions, mediators – and, unfortunately, some have sacrificed their lives in this cause. But everything has a limit. If Israel refuses to heed the voice of reason, the Assembly must resolve to apply the sanctions provided for in the Charter, in the event that the Security Council, the organ responsible for the maintenance of peace and security, once again fails to shoulder its responsibilities, as it has done repeatedly in the past. The legal instruments to do that exist.
In my statement on this question at the General Assembly's emergency special session, I went into detail on the way in which resolution 377 (V) could be used to decide to adopt sanctions. I do not intend to repeat those remarks today. I remain convinced that it would be preferable for the United Nations to decide to apply the sanctions provided for in the Charter, rather than having another war break out in the region. The use of force is forbidden by the Charter, and only the unanimous will of those gathered here can avoid it we must work sincerely to that end.
Statement made by the Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Mr. Victor J. GAUCI
Five years have elapsed since the establishment of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and this is the sixth consecutive time that I have formally been entrusted with the task of introducing the report of the Committee – this year contained in document A/35/35.
In doing so, I wish to record the spirit of co-operation which consistently prevailed throughout this period among the. members of the Committee, as they confronted the complex tasks put before them by the General Assembly. A special commendation goes to Ambassador Kane of Senegal, who has led us with dedication, elegance and enthusiasm throughout the past year, maintaining the exacting standards set by his predecessor, Ambassador Fall. We shall miss them both in future.
The report is brief and speaks for itself. Essentially, it is a continuation of the painstaking work of the Committee against firmly entrenched opposition. Positive movement is agonizingly slow. The Committee's workload is very full, a daily reminder of the human aspect of the Palestine question.
As in the past, the main attention of the Committee has centred on, first, urging the Security Council to take action on the Committee's recommendations; secondly, watching over events in the occupied territories; and thirdly, disseminating factual information on the various aspects of the question of Palestine.
On the first point, the Security Council, held back "by one of its permanent members, has not yet taken effective action. That led to the holding by the General Assembly of an emergency special session on Palestine last July. The session, attended at a very high level, has come and gone its recommendations are still fresh in the mind of all delegations, and hence require no repetition on my part. The practical outcome of those recommendations is contained in the terse report of the Secretary-General in document A/33/618. That report can be summed up in one phrase: the United Nations can do so much to promote and oversee an equitable solution, but so far is being prevented from doing so. Or, in other words, the world clamours for progress; but Israel, almost in total isolation, refuses to go along.
The uncompromising attitude of the occupying Power towards the Arab people in the occupied territories and its defiance of United Nations resolutions is amply documented and needs no repetition. No conceivable circumstances can ever Justify the sorry exercise of unyielding repression which is being perpetrated and which continues unchecked. A brief glance at the report of the Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices is an impressively detailed remainder. The political repercussions of this policy have also been brought out very aptly by the Security Council Commission in its report contained in document S/14268. The recommendations contained in paragraphs 241 to 249 of the Commission's report, with which the Palestine Committee is in agreement, are particularly relevant. In fact, the nature of life in the occupied territories was encapsulated poignantly by a Palestinian poet, who remarked only a few-days ago, "You do not know if your daughter goes to school in the morning whether she will come back at night".
The Committee has therefore had to write several letters of protest in the course of the year under review, drawing attention to grave violations of human rights by Israel in the occupied territories. These are all reproduced in the report. Israel, however, remained unrepentant; it not only continued to repression but enacted legislation on Jerusalem which has shocked the whole world, and is now even reported to be contemplating similar legislation for the occupied part of the Golan Heights. There have also been reports of plans for a future attempt at further forcible evacuation of Palestinian inhabitants from West Bank areas, which would result in what has authoritatively been described as "an entirely different map of the country that it will be impossible to ignore".
These drastically repressive measures are not new; they have been applied for decades to restrain manifestations of Palestinian nationalism. What is more recent is the unflinching and determined opposition of the inhabitants – a combination of fear, anger, desperation and defiance. It has now reached a stage of saturation. The Mayor of Nablus, who lost both legs when terrorists tried to kill him and two of his colleagues last June, stated very simply, "We have nothing more to lose".
In such an atmosphere of extremism on one side and of resentment and fear on the other, not much of a spark will be necessary to touch off another dreaded conflagration in the region, which almost inevitably will have disastrous world-wide consequences. The clash of arms may be heard elsewhere these days, but the simmering resentment of the Palestinians is a human tragedy to which the United Nations can remain indifferent only at its peril. To do so would be as unjust as it is dangerous. The Committee in any case has been mandated to keep alive the hopes of a peaceful and equitable solution. We ask that this responsibility be universally shared.
The Committee, however, can do no more at this stage than underscore the balanced and all-embracing nature of its recommendations and the fact that, time and time again, they have been endorsed by the General Assembly, on each occasion with an increased majority. I hope this year will be no exception. The recommendations have also been accepted by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a basis for a solution. The significance of this point should not be overlooked and cannot be stressed strongly enough. The Committee therefore believes that a start, however modest, in implementing the recommended phased approach through the Security Council, where all the interested parties can be involved, should no longer be delayed. Only in this way can we turn the tide away from armed confrontation and further bloodshed.
The third area of the Committee's work has been among the most necessary and has proved the most fruitful of our activity, which at least is generating increasing momentum for a peaceful and just solution, as I propose to show.
The period under review was particularly busy for the Committee. In close co-operation with the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat, we have expanded our efforts to inform public opinion on the real nature of the Palestine question, thus enhancing international understanding and support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and restoring balance to the distortions on this question promulgated in the past by the popular press.
We have participated in the organization of numerous seminars, lectures and discussions on important aspects related to the problem of Palestinian rights and we have taken part in others, so as to present the point of view of the United Nations on this issue. In Arusha and in Vienna eminent scholars presented detailed papers on several aspects of the question of Palestine which the Unit intends eventually to publish. Many more countries are showing interest in acting as host to seminars on this question, a factor which the Committee welcomes despite the increased work-load which it entails for its members. More seminars are planned for next year, to be held in Asia and in Latin America.
In addition to the important studies published last year, two more have been completed this year – one on the water resources of the West Bank and the other containing a brief history of the Palestine question. The film produced last year was awarded second prize by the Twenty-second Annual Film Festival organized by the American Film Library Association in May this year. The favourable impact on public opinion as a result of these cumulative efforts has been very encouraging. This probably explains the well-orchestrated attempts being made in some quarters to present as biased the work of the Committee and of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights.
The most predictable and the most recent example of this unfounded criticism is the letter dated 31 October 1980 from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General. Referring to the publications prepared by the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights, he branded them as "pseudo-scientific studies" (A/35/587, p. 1) which "all rest on flawed foundations" (ibid.); he claimed that "as a result, their conclusions are untenable" (ibid.) Later in the same letter, the Permanent Representative of Israel harshly attacked the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, calling it "nothing but a pliant tool in the hands of the PLO" (ibid., p. 2).
Apart from the obvious fact that these assertions run squarely against world public opinion as expressed in the General Assembly, I regret having to point out that they also run counter to the principles of justice, legality and morality which are the very basis of the Committee's recommendations – the same principles which theoretically should govern relations between countries and peoples.
If the Committee has been partial at any time, it has been so only in response to the will of the international community and to the mandate given to it to draw up a programme which will enable the people of Palestine to obtain rights to which they have long been entitled but which so far they have been unable to attain. There is no question that acceptance of these rights is now quasi-unanimous in the United Nations , except for those who seem to have arbitrarily and unilaterally decided that they do not consider these principles as being applicable to the Arab people of Palestine. This anomaly is precisely what the Committee is trying to overcome at the behest of the General Assembly.
The studies prepared by the Unit lay no claim to being perfect; it would indeed be most remarkable if, on questions which have given and continue to give rise to so much controversy, there should be no dissenting opinion. We have in fact received suggestions for improvements from all sides. The Committee does not claim infallibility in these publications, but is strongly insistent on objectivity. Any Member State is urged to participate when these studies are being prepared. The Committee does not wish to encourage academic nit-picking on its studies; it wishes only to present brief, readable, objective and factually dispassionate analyses of important elements of the question of Palestine so as to encourage informed involvement in a matter of universal concern.
There is therefore no point in attempting to discredit and impugn the motives of the members of the Committee on this question. We all have our responsibilities on the various items we discuss in the Assembly, but our responsibilities are probably at their most pronounced when the question of Palestine is involved, since it is one in which the General Assembly was directly involved as soon as the United Nations was founded.
Certainly, the international community cannot ignore the moral, legal and political validity of its own recommendations consistently adopted in the past, among the most fundamental in this case being those concerning the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Nor can the Assembly ignore the fact that there has been no withdrawal from the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, but that on the contrary, a consistent long-term policy of establishing illegal settlements has been pursued by Israel.
Let me repeat, for the last time I hope, that, contrary to Israel's "assertions, the Committee does not question Israel's right to exist as a State; what it questions is Israel's refusal to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the illegal ways in which Israel sees to it that the attainment of those rights by the Palestinian people is frustrated. If Israel refuses to see the writing on the wall, then it should be helped to do so, in its own self-interest and in the interests of peace and justice.
Even within the Secretariat there seem to be occasional attempts to impede the work of the Committee. The article published in the Secretariat News on 16 October 1980 was, to put it mildly, quite deplorable, but the Committee did not see fit to demean itself by giving any official reply to that article.
Another surprising occurrence is the disappearance from the United Nations collection in the Dag Hammarskjold Library of several important documents related to the question of Palestine.
On the other hand, it must be stressed that this is not a general pattern. On the contrary, the constantly growing international support for the cause of Palestinian self-determination is certainly a reason for optimism. We must hope that in the near future that support will come closer to being universal, so that a concerted effort will finally be made to come to grips with this human drama. The Committee will in any case continue to work assiduously towards this objective in future.
That international support was clearly emphasized by the vote taken in the Assembly during the emergency special session on the question of Palestine held last July, and it is steadily increasing. A few weeks ago, for example, the National Council of Churches in the United States called for the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and recognised the Palestinian Liberation Organization as that people's only legitimate representative. That endorsement undoubtedly shows the changing attitude of the United States public at large to the solution of the Palestinian problem. It is an important element, following as it does the significant Venice declaration of the countries of the European Community.
Another relevant element is the freely-expressed opinion of important personalities in Israel, in the front-line Arab States and in the occupied territories over the past few years, where modalities for a comprehensive peace have been analyzed. Two factors deserve to be highlighted. An overwhelming majority of Arabs and a decisive majority of Israelis believe that a compromise settlement requires the establishment of some Palestinian entity in areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Most Arabs and Israelis interviewed believe that the present time is a propitious occasion for a comprehensive settlement. Those observations were reflected in a report prepared under the auspices of the International Peace Academy and published this year.
The issue, then, despite its historical complexity, despite the ravages of violence, despite the intensity of feelings it gives rise to, boils down to a few crucial factors. With international acquiescence, Israel long ago acquired its cherished statehood. The Palestinians have not yet attained in practice what the international community has authorized in theory. Frustrated but insistent, they are trying to attain their place in the sun by peaceful means through the United Nations. Their call has elicited an overwhelming favourable response within the context of a comprehensive Middle East solution under Security Council auspices. They rightly do not wish to have their future decided for them behind their backs. They want to participate and they want the result to be genuine self-determination, not mere administrative autonomy.
The recommendations of the Committee provide a phased and supervised " programme for the attainment of that legitimate objective by peaceful means. Other approaches have serious shortcomings which must be remedied if those approaches are to succeed. There can hardly be an area more desperately in need of a positive breakthrough at the present delicate stage in international relations than that of Palestine, nor can there be a people more deserving than the long-suffering Palestinians, so that their bitterness over the past may become transformed into a tangible expectation of liberty and progress for the future..
To return to a phrase I used when I introduced the first report of the Committee, no objective observer, no advocate of peace, no champion of human rights, can fail to heed this call, now less than ever before. As has rightly been said: "Because we are free, we cannot be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere". The Palestinians are awaiting our response, and they have waited long enough.
3. International Conference on the Palestine and Jerusalem Problem
held in Vienna, Austria, 5-7 November 1980
The International Progress Organization (IPO) which has a consultative status with the United Nations, organized in Vienna, Austria, from 5 to 7 November 1980 an International Conference on the Palestine and Jerusalem Problem. It was attended by more than a hundred experts on international law and human rights, politicians as well as participants from both Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
At the opening session of the Conference, Mr. Willibald Pahr, the Austrian Foreign Minister proposed direct negotiations between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. At the same session, His Excellency Mr. Falilou Kane, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable rights of the Palestinian People stressed the urgency of constructive efforts towards a just solution guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people. He was critical of the international mass media for its lack of objectivity on the Palestine question.
During the Conference separate panels of experts presented papers on the following subjects:
The Conference dealt with the following issues:
The participants of the Conference sent a message to the President-elect of the United States concerning the Middle East question.
4. Text of the final declaration of the Eleventh Arab
Summit Conference held at Amman from 25 to 27 November 1960
The Eleventh Arab Summit Conference held at Amman, Jordan from 25 to 27 November 1980 issued the following final declaration:
Complete text of the Final Declaration of the Eleventh Arab
Summit Conference, held at Amman from 25 to 27 November 1980
In accordance with the sixth resolution of the Tenth Arab Summit Conference held at Tunis between 30 Dhu al-Hijjah 1399 A.H. and the 2 Muharram l399 A.H. , corresponding to 20-22 Tishrin al-thani (November) 1979. His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, invited the Eleventh Arab Summit Conference to meet at Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, from 18-20 Muharram 1401 A.H. , corresponding to 25-27 Tishrin al-thani (November) 1980.
Basing themselves upon their commitment to national responsibility, to the necessity of pursuing Joint and earnest inter-Arab action in confronting the dangers and threats to which the Arab nation is exposed, and believing that an effective and efficient confrontation can only come about on the basis of unanimity, the transcending of differences and the elimination of divisive factors in arriving at unity in the Arab ranks, the Arab leaders, meeting in Amman, worked together to study the present Arab situation and those political, military and economic developments which have taken place in the Arab world and in the international arena since the convening of the Tenth Arab Summit Conference in Tunis, examined the Arab-Zionist conflict, and reviewed its latest developments and have adopted political, military and economic resolutions aimed at building up Arab capacities and strengths in all of those areas.
The Arab leaders reaffirmed their adherence to the resolutions of the Jurnit Conferences of Baghdad and Tunis and particularly to those dealing with the Palestinian question, considering the fact that it constitutes the essence of the Arab struggle with the Israeli enemy and national responsibility with regard to it make it incumbent upon all Arabs to act and struggle in order to repulse the Zionist danger which threatened the existence of the Arab nation.
The Conference also emphasized that the liberation of Arab Jerusalem was i national duty and a national obligation, proclaimed the rejection of all measures taken by Israel, requested all nations of the world to adopt clear and defined positions in opposition to the Israeli measures and resolved to break off all relations with any country recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or transferring its embassy there.
The Arab leaders have underlined their determination to continue their support for the Palestine Liberation Organization in its capacity as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people for the purpose of the restitution of all its rights including the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on its own territory, and, they also reiterated their support for the independence of the Organization and for its freedom of action. The Conference acclaimed the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, its heroic sacrifices and its fearless resistance in persistently opposing the Israeli occupation, giving proof time and again to the entire world of the staying power of that people and its determination, to claim those rights which are its due.
The Conference reasserted the right of the Palestinian Arab people, as represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization, its sole legitimate representative to return to its land, to determine its own destiny and to establish an independent Palestinian State on the soil of its homeland, while pointing out that it was the Palestine Liberation Organization which alone has the right to take upon itself the responsibility for the future of the Palestinian people.
The Conference also emphasized that Security Council resolution 242 (1967) was not in keeping with Arab fights and did not constitute an appropriate basis for a solution to the Middle East crisis and particularly the Palestine question.
The Arab leaders reaffirmed their rejection of the Camp David accords, which had lured the Egyptian leadership into the trap of plotting against the Arab nation and its portentous cause and which had as their objective the destruction of Arab unity and solidarity and had removed the Egyptian regime from the Arab ranks and led it into negotiating with the Israeli enemy and into signing a separate peace treaty, thereby challenging the will of the Egyptian people and ignoring its national role and its deep-rooted Arab allegiance. The Arab leaders emphasized their determination to defy those agreements, to overthrew them, and to render them ineffective. They emphasized their support for boycott measures against the Egyptian regime in accordance with the provisions of the resolutions of the Summit Conferences of Baghdad and Tunis. The Conference sent greetings of solidarity to the fraternal Egyptian Arab people which formed an important part of the Arab nation and whose struggle was inseparable from that of the rest of the Arabs, and expressed the hope that it would be able to overcome the circumstances which had alienated it from its brothers and return to fraternal and constructive participation in the future of the Arab nation.
The Conference studied with extreme interest the ongoing conflict between fraternal Iraq and its neighbour Iran.
Basing itself upon the principles of Arab solidarity, and seeking to preserve fraternal relations between Arab and Islamic nations and to mobilize all of their forces in support of the struggle being waged by the Arab nation against the Zionist enemy, the Conference hereby:
The Conference also calls upon both sides to jointly abide by the principles of non-interference in internal affairs, respect for rights and sovereignty and the consolidation of good-neighbourly relations between their respective countries so that such principles can serve as a basis for relations between the Arab countries and Iran.
The Conference expressed its thorough condemnation of the continuing Israeli aggression against the sister State of Lebanon, stigmatized that aggression as a challenge to the honour of the international community, declared its absolute solidarity with the people of the sister State of Lebanon and called upon all the parties in Lebanon to support the legitimate Government in order to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon. The Conference also reaffirmed the resolutions of the Tenth Summit at Tunis aimed at the reconstruction of Lebanon.
The Conference reviewed Arab relations with other countries throughout the world and stressed the need for closer ties and relations with the Islamic States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, for a strengthening of the role of the non-aligned movement and for co-operation with States members of that movement and with the group of Latin American States. The Conference also emphasized the need to promote solidarity with the Organization of African Unity and the States of the African continent, to bolster Afro-Arab co-operation and to consolidate ties and relations in a manner conducive to Afro-Arab interests and to the furtherance of the just struggle of the peoples of the African continent against racial discrimination and foreign interference.
The Conference affirmed the determination of the Arab States to pursue the Euro-Arab dialogue with a view to the promotion of joint interests and the achievement of greater understanding of the justice of Arab demands, particularly with regard to the question of Palestine.
The Conference stressed the need for endeavours to ensure the continued support and backing of the group of socialist States for Arab rights and to strengthen co-operation with that group with a view to the promotion of joint interests and the furtherance and development of the support of those States for Arab rights in such a way as to increase Arab steadfastness capabilities.
The Conference decided to pursue its efforts, within the framework of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and institutions and conferences of international organizations, to co-ordinate Arab positions and achieve co-operation in accordance with the principles and objectives of the joint Arab programme of action and the policies established by institutions of the League of Arab States.
The Conference stressed the need for the continuation of contacts with the Vatican and with other Christian religious organizations and institutions in order to ensure their support for the recovery of full Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem.
The Conference condemned the continuing political, military and economic support given by the Government of the United States of America to Israel and which had enabled the latter to perpetuate the occupation, to deny the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, to disregard international resolutions and to continue its aggression, expansion and colonial settlement. The Conference also condemned the hostile attitude of the Government of the United States of America towards the Palestine Liberation Organization, the denial of the latter's right to represent the Palestinian Arab people and its designation as a terrorist organization.
While expressing their deep concern at the continuance of discord and divisions within Arab ranks at a time when resolute and serious efforts are needed for a united Arab front and for the mobilization of capacities to meet the challenges facing the Arab nation, the Arab leaders call for the settlement of extraneous disputes within the Arab world in a spirit of true Arab brotherhood committed to a common purpose and destiny and in accordance with the provisions of the Arab Solidarity Pact resulting from the Summit Conference at Casablanca in 1965
In the economic field, the Conference discussed the economic and social challenges facing the Arab nation and stressed that such challenges could be met only through joint and effective Arab endeavours within the framework of a comprehensive Arab perspective.
In this connexion, the Conference endorsed the document setting forth the joint Arab economic action strategy up to the year 2000 which constitutes an historic turning point in Arab economic practice by virtue of its derivation from the principles of Arab unity, development, liberation and integration and its adoption of the pan-Arab planning approach with regard to the Joint economic sector and the developmental approach with regard to the integration of production as a methodology for the organization, development and proper utilization of Arab resources in the joint sector. The Conference expresses its conviction that Arab security requires the establishment of a solid economic base which can be achieved only through over-all Arab development. Conversely, security provides a protective fence for developmental achievements and the Conference believes that every Arab country offers strategic depth for the other Arab countries and that joint endeavours are therefore required to counter all challenges and threats. While appreciating the considerable achievements made in the field of national development, the Conference is nevertheless convinced that an intensification of Joint Arab endeavours would further national efforts if such Joint endeavours were made within the framework of a clear perspective of common interests. In accordance with the Conference's belief that the Arab citizen is both the objective and the tool of development, the human aspect of development was given priority in the Arab economic strategy in order to ensure a higher level of economic performance by Arab citizens, the development of their experience and skills and their acquisition of technical capabilities without weakening their attachment to the time-honoured cultural identity of Arab society. The Conference expresses its belief that Arab economic integration is how even more urgent since it is a fundamental necessity in all Arab countries in view of the current situation and recent developments in the Arab world.
Within the framework of this strategy, the Council approved the scheme for a joint Arab development decade for the purpose of accelerating development in the least developed Arab States, reducing the development gaps between the various parts of the Arab homeland and achieving steady growth to improve the individual income. The 1980s were regarded as the First Joint Arab Development Decade, and the sum of $5,000 million were allocated for the next 10 years, subject to increase in the light of developing needs and in accordance with potentials. (This is in addition to the financial resources made available by existing Arab national and regional funds.) The project aims at financing development projects in the least developed Arab States, according priority to major projects which help to strengthen relations between the Arab countries and bring about Arab economic integration, in addition to raising the economic and social levels of the peoples concerned. The Conference decided that the financing should be in the form of easy-term loans.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Iraq, the State of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar graciously undertook to furnish the above figure, leaving the door open to the other Arab States capable of contributing to this project in the future in fulfilment of their national duty.
The Conference accorded considerable attention to the role of Arab savings, capacities and resources and their sound channelling towards areas of development investment. The Conference therefore approved the Unified Agreement on the Investment of Arab Capital in Arab States, which represents the main channel for encouraging the private sector to make an Arab contribution to the financing of Arab development projects and programmes on the basis of a sound and careful balance between the interests of the parties to the investment relationship.
In order to ensure continuity of Arab Joint economic action and to support it and keep it apart from political upsets and to provide a solid basis on which the Arab economy can move confidently and steadily, in the limit of higher interests, the Conference approved the Charter of National Economic Action.
The Conference expressed its great appreciation for the distinguished efforts made by the secretariat of the League of Arab States, its economic apparatus, the Arab specialized agencies and Arab experts in the preparation of the economic studies which enabled the Conference to draw up the strategy for Arab joint economic action. The Conference decided to reinforce the resources of the Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to African and Arab States, in appreciation of its national role in providing technical aid to the African and Arab regions.
The Conference expressed its high appreciation and thanks to the His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal for the great efforts which he had made in presiding over the Conference and commended with pride the steadfastness of the Arab people in Jordan, their deep national spirit, their enthusiasm and their unceasing support for the achievement of the goals of the Arab nation, in freedom, unity and victory.
The Conference also expressed its deep gratitude for the honour and attention accorded to its members in their reception by His Majesty the King and his Government and people.
5. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the return
of the Mayor of Hebron and the Mayor of Halhoul.
The Security Council on 19 December 1980 expressed its grave concern at the expulsion by Israel of the Mayor of Hebron and the Mayor of Halhoul. It also reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 19^9 to the occupied territories.
The Security Council took this action with the adoption of resolution 484 (1980). The resolution was unanimously adopted.
The full text of the Security Council resolution 484 (1980) is as follows:
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 468 (1980) and 469 (1960),
Taking note of General Assembly resolution 35/122 F,
Expressing its grave concern at the expulsion by Israel of the Mayor of Hebron and the Mayor of Halhoul,
1. Reaffirms the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel in 1967;
2. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to adhere to the provisions of the Convention;
3. Declares it imperative that the Mayor of Hebron and the Mayor of Halhoul be enabled to return to their homes and resume their responsibilities;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution as soon as possible.
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), General Assembly, Security Council, Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (SUPR) (See also - CEIRPP > DPR)
Subject: Expulsions and deportations, Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Jerusalem, Palestine question, Situation in Lebanon, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 31/12/1980