3745th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Occupied Arab Territories - Part 2

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05-Mar-1997 01:30:38
Security Council begins debate on Israeli decision to construct new housing in East Jerusalem at 3745th meeting.

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Settlement Plans Violate Agreements Already Reached, Say Speakers; Israel Says Status of Jerusalem Not Changed by Approval of Building Plans

The Security Council this afternoon began a two-day debate on the situation in the occupied Arab territories, in particular the 26 February decision of the Israeli Government to begin construction of new housing in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem.

Meeting at the request of Egypt, the Council heard a number of speakers call upon the Israeli Government to reverse its approval of Har Homa, a housing project that will eventually contain 6,500 units. Many stressed that the settlement plans violated international law, previous Council resolutions and the agreements already in place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Several speakers urged restraint on the part of all parties in light of the current situation.

The Observer for Palestine said that Israel, the occupying Power, must halt the colonial settlement and cease all settlement activities and the confiscation of land, as well as any actions that would change the facts on the ground, especially in occupied East Jerusalem. He stressed there would be no peace in the region without the attainment of Palestinian and Arab rights in the holy city.

The representative of Israel said the approval of building plans within Jerusalem did not constitute a change in the status of Jerusalem. He went on to say the project was an essential part of a comprehensive municipal plan to construct 20,000 new housing units for the city's Jewish residents and 8,500 for the city's Arab residents -- a ratio comparable to that of the Jewish and Arab populations in the city.

The representative of the United States said the Israeli decision was not helpful to the peace process and undermined the trust and confidence that was so badly needed to achieve a lasting peace. However, it was now critically important that the parties and the Council remain focused on the need to sustain and enhance progress towards the goal of peace. No action should be taken which would detract from that objective and which would make the tasks of the parties that much more difficult, he concluded.

Statements were also made this afternoon by the representatives of Egypt, France, United Kingdom, Portugal, China, Russian Federation, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Chile, Japan, Kenya, Costa Rica, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Norway, Turkey, Lebanon and Yemen. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People also spoke.

The meeting, which began at 3:52 p.m., was suspended at 6:34 p.m. It is scheduled to resume at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, 6 March.

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