UN General Assembly Adopts 6 Resolutions on Palestine, Middle East

NEW YORK, December 1, 2011 (WAFA) – UN General Assembly adopted, by six recorded votes, resolutions on both the “Question of Palestine” and on the wider “Situation in the Middle East,” according to a press release issued by UNISPAL on Wednesday.

The texts addressed issues including the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, the work of the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights and the stymied progress of the Syrian track of the Middle East peace process.

As in previous sessions, the Assembly adopted, by 167 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) with 4 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga), a broad-based resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.

By its terms, the Assembly stressed the detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, on efforts to advance the peace process. It also recognized “tangible” gains made under the Palestinian state-building programme and stressed the need for sustained and active international involvement to support a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

By the terms of a related text, adopted by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 53 abstentions, the Assembly affirmed its support for the Middle East peace process and requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to continue its efforts to promote the realization of their right to self-determination.

The Assembly also took action on two resolutions dealing with activities of the United Nations Secretariat, noting its support for the Division for Palestinian Rights and for the Department of Public Information’s special information programme on the question of Palestine.
It adopted the first text by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, United States) with 54 abstentions and the second by 168 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Tonga).

Turning to the more comprehensive issue of the situation in the Middle East, the Assembly adopted two resolutions. The first, which focused on Jerusalem, was adopted by a recorded vote of 164 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Panama, Tonga). By its terms, the Assembly reiterated that any Israeli actions to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the city would be deemed illegal and therefore null and void. It also called upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.

By the second text — focused on the Syrian Golan and adopted by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 53 abstentions — the Assembly expressed its grave concern over the halt in the Syrian track of the peace process.

The text declared that Israel had failed so far to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981), and that its decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void, with no validity. It further called on Israel to rescind that decision.

Taking up the six draft resolutions before it, the Assembly first adopted the text on the Committee on the exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/66/L.15) by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 53 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (document A/66/L.16) by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, United States), with 54 abstentions.

By a recorded vote of 168 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Tonga) the Assembly adopted the text on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (document A/66/L.17).

The Assembly then adopted the draft on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (document A/66/L.18) by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga).

While accepting the principle that the Assembly may look into the practices of individual States, only six had been adopted this year, four of which focused on severe human rights abuses, in contrast to the 17 annual resolutions against Israel, he said, reiterating the call for all Member States to re-evaluate what would actually contribute to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Success would only be achieved if the parties were encouraged to sit down, listen to each other and understand each other’s hopes and fears, he emphasized. Those supporting a Palestinian State should do everything possible to support the parties’ efforts to bring about a just and lasting peace.

Ultimately, it was the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side, and who must reach agreement on the issues dividing them, he said, stressing that peace depended on compromise by people who needed to live together long after the speeches had ended and the votes had been tallied.

The Assembly then adopted the text on Jerusalem (document A/66/L.19) by a recorded vote of 164 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Panama, Tonga).

Taking up the final draft before it, on the Syrian Golan (document A/66/L.20), the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 53 abstentions.

(english.wafa.ps / 01.12.2011)

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