47th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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06-Dec-2018 01:35:53
General Assembly adopts text reiterating call for comprehensive Middle East peace, after failing to pass resolution condemning actions by Hamas in Gaza at 47th plenary meeting.

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The General Assembly decided today to reiterate its call for the achievement of just and lasting peace in the Middle East while also failing to adopt a text condemning actions by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.

Through a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 12 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled “Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” (document A/73/L.49).

Through the draft, the Assembly reiterates its call for the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on relevant United Nations resolutions. It also reiterates its call for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem, and reaffirms its unwavering support for the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders.

“Such a peace, unfortunately, is not currently in sight,” said Ireland’s representative while introducing the text. Stressing the importance of reversing the current negative developments on the ground, she added that a settlement of the conflict must meet Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, as well as resolve all final status issues.

Prior to adopting that draft, the Assembly failed to adopt another text titled “Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza” (document A/73/L.42). While the text gained plurality support in a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 57 against, with 33 abstentions, it failed to meet the two-thirds adoption requirement.

The text would have had the Assembly demand that Hamas and other militant actors, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cease all provocative actions and violent activity. It would have also encouraged tangible steps towards intra‑Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of the Egypt’s mediation effort.

The Assembly had voted to apply the two-thirds majority requirement for the adoption of draft by a vote of 75 in favour to 72 against, with 26 abstentions.

The representative of the United States — who introduced draft “L.42”, said it gave the Assembly an opportunity to speak out against one of the “ugliest cases of terrorism in the world”. She said last week the Assembly adopted six resolutions condemning Israel, noting that the Organization’s hostility against that country is unquestionable. (For details on those draft resolutions see Press Release GA/12096.) Condemning Hamas’ call to “destroy Israel”, she said Hamas has turned Gaza into a police State while using United Nations resources to build rockets. “The people that have suffered most under Hamas are Palestinians,” she stressed, noting that the draft would right a historic wrong.

However, the representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called on all States to reject the “L.42” text as it “distracts from the deep‑seeded causes of the conflict”. He called for respecting relevant United Nations resolutions in efforts to address the Palestinian‑Israeli conflict and stressed the importance of a two‑State solution based on pre‑1967 borders.

Israel’s representative, following the Assembly’s failure to adopt the draft, said: “Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colours.” To the people of Gaza, he said “we think of you”, and to Hamas “your time’s up”. Hamas exploits the people of Gaza, he stressed, adding that the organization is in flagrant violation of international law. There is no difference between Hamas, and Al‑Qaida and Boko Haram, he said, adding that as the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah, the plurality of Member States of the United Nations has chosen to condemn Hamas.

Speaking after action had been taken on both drafts, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said the strong support for draft that was adopted was an unequivocal affirmation, especially significant in view of actions aimed at eroding the global consensus for a just solution for the Palestinian people. Thanking Ireland for presenting the text, he said peace negotiations cannot be credible if detached from the United Nations. The resolutions are not one‑sided or anti‑Israel; they are pro-peace pieces of legislation, he stressed.

Following the introduction of draft “L.42”, the representative of Bolivia took the floor to withdraw an amendment that his delegation had proposed — the language of which mirrored that of the draft introduced by Ireland. In doing so, he condemned all violence and urged all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians and infrastructure.

Explaining their positions on the drafts, Member States condemned violence in Gaza and affirmed their support for a two-State solution to the conflict. The representative of Austria, speaking for the European Union, supported draft “L.42” and emphasized the bloc’s commitment to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. “Any peace plan that fails to recognize internationally agreed upon parameters is doomed to fail,” he said.

The representative of Chile called on Israel to lift the restrictions imposed on the people of Gaza. “There is no reason to justify acts of terrorism,” he said. Reiterating full support for a two‑State solution and declaring that both Palestine and Israel have the right to coexist peacefully, he said Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East.

Also speaking were the representatives of Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Kingdom, Bahrain, Norway, Mexico, Viet Nam, Ecuador, Canada, Afghanistan and Singapore.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 December, to take action on reports of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee).

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