37th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 74th Session

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03-Dec-2019 02:44:33
Calling for non-recognition of unagreed changes to pre-1967 borders, Jerusalem, General Assembly adopts five resolutions on Middle East at 37th and 38th plenary meetings.

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The General Assembly today adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

Through the terms of the text titled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (document A/74/L.15) — adopted by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 13 abstentions — the Assembly called on Member States to ensure that agreements with Israel do not imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territories it occupied in 1967. The Assembly reiterates its call for the achievement of a just, lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to the Israeli occupation, while calling on Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with international law, cease actions aimed at altering the demographic composition of the Territory, and immediately halt all settlement activities.

By the terms of a resolution titled “The Syrian Golan” (document A/74/L.9), adopted by a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United Kingdom, United States), with 65 abstentions, the Assembly declares that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and demands that Israel withdraw from the territory.

The Assembly also adopted by recorded vote three resolutions dealing with the United Nations system’s own provision of support to the Palestinian people. The first — titled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (document A/74/L.14) — requests the Committee to exert all efforts to promote the right to self‑determination of Palestinians and to support the achievement of an end to Israeli occupation.

In the second of those texts titled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (document A/74/L.16), the Assembly requests the Division to continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine. Through the third such resolution, “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Global Communications of the Secretariat” (document A/74/L.17) the Assembly requests the Department disseminate information on activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine and peace efforts.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said that international support for the Palestinian people has not wavered despite Israel’s attempts to destroy a two-State formula and recent aberrations in decisions by the current United States Administration that contradict international law. Failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes has led it to believe it is a State above the law. As a result, the United Nations Charter and United Nations resolutions are being trampled with utter contempt. Palestinian civilians, including women and children, continue to be killed and injured. Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza has caused 2 million Palestinians to live in an “open-air prison,” where the unemployment rate is a staggering 53 per cent, he added.

The representative of Israel, voicing opposition to the five resolutions, said the international community has fully embraced the Palestinian perspective and thereby stands in the way of ending the conflict by encouraging Palestinians to refuse any proposed solution. Though the Jewish people have a biblical and historic right to the entirety of the land, Israel accepted the partition plan in the spirit of compromise. Arab leadership, by contrast, chose war. During the twentieth century an estimated 850,000 Jews were forced out of Arab countries and became refugees but were ignored by the international community because it didn’t serve the Palestinian narrative. Accepting the Palestinian Authority’s stated policy of glorifying terrorism against Jews and condemning Jews for living in Jerusalem is counterproductive to peace, he said, calling the international community morally bankrupt.

The representative of the United States echoed Israel’s sentiment that the resolutions are biased against Israel, adding that such a one-sided approach undermines trust.

During the day-long debate, speakers expressed their support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and condemned Israel for continuing its settlement activities. Kuwait’s delegate, echoing the sentiments of several Member States, expressed alarm about Israel’s attempts to change the historic status of holy sites in Jerusalem, the freezing of Palestinian tax revenues and the decision not to extend the temporary international presence in Hebron. Along those lines, Indonesia’s delegate also stressed: “This is not a conflict between two equal parties over a disputed territory.” Rather, an occupying State is imposing colonization policies in the territory of another State, under inhumane conditions, he added.

Speakers also rejected the unilateral decision by the United States Government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The representative of Malaysia further denounced the recent decision by the United States that stated Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are no longer inconsistent with international law. Iran’s delegate said the United States must be held accountable for such unjustifiable, irresponsible acts and condemned the United States decision in support of Israel’s annexation of the Occupied Syrian Golan.

Syria’s representative said that bolstered by blind support from some Member States’ law, Israel has carried out attacks on Syria’s territory, attempting to change the history of the Golan, pillage its wealth and confiscate the territories of its people. With the aim of extending illegal settlements, Israel is requiring people living in the Syrian Golan to register their land with Israeli authorities and holding false elections, while continuing repressive racial discrimination policies and arbitrary detention. He called on the United Nations to implement all the resolutions under consideration, reiterating Syria’s sovereign rights over the Golan and emphasizing that such rights are not time-barred.

In other matters, the Assembly postponed until 12 December consideration of its agenda item on the “Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjold and of the members of the party accompanying” ‑ which was originally scheduled for 9 December.

Also speaking today were representatives of Maldives, Jordan, Argentina, Libya, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Namibia, China, Cuba, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Ireland, Tunisia, Norway, Morocco, South Africa, Iraq, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Brazil and Singapore.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 5 December, to consider the follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries.

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