35th Plenary Meeting - General Asssembly 75th Session

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02-Dec-2020 02:44:44
General Assembly adopts seven resolutions, including texts on Middle East, citing illegality of annexing Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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The General Assembly today adopted seven resolutions, including five on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, one of which cited the illegality of annexing any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and two on the importance of fostering a culture of peace.

Through the terms of the resolution “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (document A/75/L.34) — adopted by a recorded vote of 145 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions (Brazil, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Madagascar, Malawi, Palau, Rwanda, South Africa) — the Assembly called for the full respect for international law. It also called for the promotion of human security, the de-escalation of the situation, the exercise of restraint and the establishment of a stable environment conducive to the pursuit of peace.

By further terms, the Assembly called on all Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre‑1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations. As such, agreements with Israel must not imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

The Assembly adopted the resolution “The Syrian Golan” (document A/75/L.29), by a recorded vote of a recorded vote of 88 in favor to 9 against (United States, United Kingdom, Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Canada, Australia, Brazil), with62 abstentions. By its terms, it declared that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and demanded that Israel withdraw from the territory.

Also by recorded vote, the Assembly today adopted three resolutions regarding the Organization’s support to the Palestinian people. By the terms of a resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/75/L.32), the Assembly requested the Committee to continue focusing its activities throughout 2021 and 2022 on efforts and initiatives to end the Israeli occupation and organize activities in this regard.

By the terms of the resolution “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (document A/75/L.33), the Assembly requested the Division to continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine. The Assembly also adopted a third such resolution, titled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Global Communications of the Secretariat” (document A/75/L.35). By its terms, the Assembly requested the Department to expand its collection of audiovisual material on the question of Palestine as well as to periodically update the public exhibit displayed in the General Assembly Building.

As the floor opened for debate, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said that without action, accountability and consequences, Israel will continue to trample international law. Appeasing occupation will not work, nor will the attempt to break the will of the Palestinians. Those who believe Israel has suspended annexation plans are ignoring reality, he said, pointing to rapidly expanding settlements, plans to construct more installations and evictions of Palestinian families that continue even during the pandemic. The vast scope and scale of these actions are corroborated by United Nations entities and international organizations, he noted.

Israel’s representative said that, since 2000, General Assembly resolutions centre only on accusations against his delegation. While Israel recently signed peace accords with Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, this current session’s draft resolutions make no reference to them, and worse, claim that peace between Israel and other States in the Arab world is contingent upon first making peace with the Palestinian people. The Abraham Accords signed by Israel and three parties have “shattered that paradigm”, he pointed out.

Agreeing, the representative of the United Arab Emirates stressed the need for initiatives that create a conducive environment for a two-State solution. She said the United Arab Emirates has, by signing a peace treaty with Israel, achieved a freeze on the annexation of Palestinian land. Moreover, her delegation will not deviate from its support for a Palestinian State based on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The United States delegate said Washington, D.C., is continuing to take steps to rebuild trust in the region, including through its forward-looking peace initiative. However, the draft resolutions under consideration recycle tired rhetoric that do nothing to advance peace.

During the debate, many speakers voiced their support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), with many calling on Member States to increase support as it faces financial constraints that have curtailed services, including vaccinations.

Turkey’s representative said the Agency is indispensable for providing vital health, relief and emergency assistance to millions. In this context, Cuba’s representative denounced the United States withdrawal of financial support for UNRWA. He also expressed opposition to the “deal of the century” drawn up by Washington, D.C., and its decision to recognize the occupied Syrian Golan as Israeli territory.

In other matters, the Assembly concluded its consideration of its agenda item on the culture of peace, adopting two texts. Acting without a vote, it adopted the resolution “Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (document A/75/L.28). It then adopted the resolution “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace” (document A/75/L.36/Rev.1), by recorded vote of 90 in favour to none against, with 52 abstentions.

The Assembly also decided to postpone the final day of its main session to Monday, 21 December, and agreed to extend the work of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to the same date.

Also speaking today were representatives of Namibia, Afghanistan, Libya, Jordan, Malaysia, India, Kuwait, China, Egypt, Norway, Qatar, Morocco, Maldives, Japan, Tunisia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan and Syria.

The representatives of Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Assembly will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Thursday, 3 December, for a special session in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

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