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UN Assembly Establishes Palestinian ‘rights’ Unit; Calls for Return of Palestinians to Their Homes

December 5, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

For the second time in little more than a week, the General Assembly approved by overwhelming majorities two anti-Israel resolutions last Friday which conform to the views of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

One resolution, adopted by a vote of 95-20 with 26 abstentions, established a permanent agency in the UN Secretariat to prepare studies and promote publicity on Palestinian “rights.” It also calls for the observance of an annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The second resolution, adopted by a vote of 100-12 with 29 abstentions, called for the return of Palestinians to their homes and for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It demanded that Israel withdraw from all occupied Arab territories and that “Palestinian areas,” presumably the West Bank and Gaza Strip, be turned over to the UN to be handed over to the PLO.

Both resolutions were adopted following a four-day debate in the Assembly on “The Question of Palestine.” In effect, the resolutions give the PLO its first official voice in the Secretariat. Previously, the PLO had only observer status at the UN. On Nov. 25, the Assembly voted 102-4 with 29 abstentions to condemn Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories and also proposed resumption of the Geneva conference with the participation of the PLO.


The United States, which along with West European nations opposed the resolutions, denounced the measures as one-sided and unrealistic. Rep. Lester Wolff (D.NY), a member of the U.S. delegation, said the committee to publicize Palestinian rights, which will prepare a film, studies and newsletter requiring an estimated expenditure of $800,000 a year, represented an attempt to “prescribe or dictate to Israel and its Arab neighbors” the form of negotiations and the elements of a settlement. “I wonder whether some representatives here are living in the real world?” he said.

Wolff also noted that the expenditure comes at a time when the UN has a deficit of $100 million. Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog told the Assembly that the new committee and two existing committees on the Palestinian issue would mean an annual UN outlay of $1,250,000 for anti-Israel activities.

He warned that the creation of a “Palestinian agency” in the UN would “destroy any useful role the Secretariat” might have in seeking peace in the Middle East. He said the Assembly was “allying itself firmly, “in the resolution dealing with the return of Palestinians to their homes, with “the forces of rejection” of a negotiated settlement. Herzog declared that both resolutions contain “the seeds” of the UN’s destruction.

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