16 October 1995 (Not distributed)

Note from Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., to the Secretary-General of the United Nations: (Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine Resolutions) 

The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations presents his compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honor to refer to His Excellency's note verbale (49/62-GA/P), dated 31 August 1995, regarding General Assembly resolution 49/62 D, entitled "Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine", and seeks to convey the position of the Palestinian leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority on this matter.

The cosponsors of General Assembly resolution 49/62 D, while retaining essential principles, introduced important changes to accommodate the positions of some member states. As a result, the resolution received overwhelming support by members of the Assembly. The resolution provides support for the peace process and a more active and expanded role for the United Nations in this process. It also provides the basis for the just settlement of the Question of Palestine by the end of the process. As such, the resolution should serve as an acceptable basis for all parties to work on these important issues.

In operative paragraph 2 of resolution 49/62 D, the General Assembly "expresses its full support for the ongoing peace process, which began in Madrid, and the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, as well as subsequent implementation agreements, and expresses the hope that the process will lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

Since that resolution, further positive developments on the Palestinian-Israeli track of the peace process have taken place, in particular the signing, on 28 September 1995 in Washington, D.C., of the second implementation agreement of the Declaration of Principles, namely the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which provides, inter alia, for the extension of the self-government arrangements to the rest of the West Bank and the holding of general and democratic Palestinian elections.

During the past year there have been various delays in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and there has also been some lack of compliance with the provisions of the agreements reached. The two sides, however, have indicated recently their firm commitment to implement the interim agreement of 28 September 1995 in good faith, fully and according to the agreed timetable. They also reaffirmed their intentions to enter into the final status negotiations according to the relevant provisions of the Declaration of Principles.

While in preambular paragraph 7 of resolution 49/62 D the General Assembly affirmed "the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the territory occupied since 1967 and of Israeli actions aimed at changing the status of Jerusalem", the Assembly, in operative paragraphs 4 and 5, stressed the need for "the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination; the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967"; and also stressed the need for "resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with its resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948."

The Palestinian side strongly believes that the international community and the General Assembly should always uphold the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law, international humanitarian law and the validity of Security Council resolutions. As such, the General Assembly has to uphold its positions related to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and it should maintain its positions related to the elements of the final settlement (final status issues), where Israel has already created illegal, de facto situations, until negotiations on those issues take place and conclude in the second stage of the peace process and the final settlement is effectively achieved.

Operative paragraph 7 of the same resolution, "emphasizes the importance for the United Nations to play a more active and expanded role in the current peace process and in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles." The Palestinian side welcomes the progress made in this regard, especially in the fields of providing economic, social and other assistance to the Palestinian people. It welcomes in particular the work of the "United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories" in the field of coordinating United Nations, as well as international, assistance to the Palestinian people. It also welcomes the steps taken to move the headquarters of UNRWA to the territory under the Palestinian Authority, while affirming the continuation of the valuable and important work of UNRWA in other fields of operation outside of these areas.

The Palestinian side, however, hopes that the United Nations will be more involved in the peace process itself. In this regard, the participation of the United Nations in the steering committee of the multi-lateral working groups would be a normal step forward. Another step would be the participation of the United Nations in the supervision of the upcoming Palestinian elections. In general, the Palestinian side believes that there is a need for broader acceptance of the United Nations in order for it to play its natural, positive role in the historic search for peace in the Middle East. Further involvement of the Security Council would also be a very important element in the interest of the peace process.

Finally, the Palestinian side, as it did in previous years, would like to underscore the request made by the General Assembly in resolution 49/62 D for the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned, and in consultation with the Security Council, for the promotion of peace in the region and to submit progress reports on developments in this matter. The Palestinian side stands ready to fully cooperate with the Secretary-General to carry out those efforts in an effective and successful manner and, in light of the changes made and the new language of the resolution, it expects the other parties to do the same.