3745th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Occupied Arab Territories - Part 7

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06-Mar-1997 01:01:49
Israel should rescind decision to build settlement in East Jerusalem, say speakers in Security Council 3745th meeting.

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Forty-nine Speakers Address Council on Proposed Housing Project; Many Describe Project as Attempt to 'Judaize' Jerusalem before Negotiations

Concluding a two-day meeting this afternoon, speakers in the Security Council called upon the Government of Israel to rescind its 26 February decision to build a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem.

Forty-nine speakers addressed the Council on the issue, with a number of them characterizing the recent Israeli action -- approval of plans for Har Homa, a 6,500 unit housing project -- as part of an overall Government plan to create a fait accompli and ensure the Judaization of Jerusalem before the beginning of negotiations on the final status of the city. Many speakers called upon the Israeli Government to refrain from any action that altered the facts on the ground or prejudged the final status negotiations.

Some speakers referred to the recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which reiterated his country's absolute sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, as evidence of an uncompromising and unstatesmanlike attitude that could only harm the peace process. The representative of Malaysia cautioned that a partnership would not endure if one of the partners acted irresponsibly and trampled underfoot those things that were held dear by the other party.

At the beginning of the debate yesterday, the Observer for Palestine had emphasized that Israel was not the pure owner of Jerusalem, and 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 that Jerusalem's centrality to Judaism transcended geographical boundaries, and, in any event, the existing agreements did not accord the Palestinians any standing with regard to any actions taken in Jerusalem.

The representative of the Russian Federation pointed out yesterday afternoon that those with strong religious belief, especially Muslims, were extremely sensitive to changes in the status quo of East Jerusalem. The issue of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories would be emphasized during forthcoming contacts with the Israeli leaders in Moscow. As a co- sponsor of the peace process, the Russian Federation was convinced that the situation required resolute action to ensure an early settlement of the situation in East Jerusalem and the progression of the peace process.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking this morning on behalf of the European Union and associated States, reaffirmed the legal status of Jerusalem, and most notably the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. East Jerusalem was not under Israeli sovereignty and, therefore, Israel should refrain from building the new settlement in Har Homa, he added.

The Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference assured the Council this afternoon that as soon as the necessary measures to restore peace and security in the area had been undertaken, the Conference and its 54 member States would reinforce their wholehearted support of the peace process.

Statements were also made today by the representatives of Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Kuwait, Indonesia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Pakistan, Oman, Canada, Morocco, Cuba, Sudan, Qatar, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines and Malta.

The meeting, which was resumed at 10:52 p.m. today, was suspended at 1:15 p.m. It was again resumed at 3:22 p.m. and adjourned at 4:23 p.m. The next meeting of the Council to continue consideration of the situation in the occupied Arab territories will be determined in consultations.

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