25 April 1997


Press Release
GA/9238



EMERGENCY SPECIAL SESSION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEMANDS THAT ISRAEL CEASE ITS SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION IN EAST JERUSALEM

19970425

By 134-3-11 Vote, Assembly Demands End to All Illegal Measures in Jerusalem; Temporarily Adjourns Special Session

The General Assembly this morning condemned Israel's construction of a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim in occupied East Jerusalem and demanded its immediate and full cessation, as it concluded two days of debate in its emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.

By a vote of 134 in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel and United States), with 11 abstentions, the Assembly also demanded an end to all other Israeli settlement activities, as well as of all illegal measures and actions in Jerusalem. The emergency special session, the tenth in the Organization's history, was requested by the Group of Arab States and States members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Assembly called for the cessation of all assistance and support for those Israeli activities and reaffirmed that Israeli settlements in territories it had occupied since 1967 were illegal and an obstacle to peace. It also reaffirmed that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel which altered or purported to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem were null and void.

Furthermore, the Assembly demanded that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to all the territories occupied since 1967, and that it comply with relevant Security Council resolutions, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Israel said the people of the region were looking for solutions and answers, but would not find them in that draft. The solution could only come from them. Past agreements had only been achieved through face-to-face negotiations. No resolution regarding the peace process could ignore the problems of terror and violence. The Palestinian Authority must work resolutely to root out known elements involved in acts of terror. The message to the people must be that the peace process must go forward and that violence was unacceptable.


Emergency Special Session - 1a - Press Release GA/9238 3rd Meeting (PM) 25 April 1997

The Observer for Palestine, in explanation of position after the vote, said the vote was a matter of historic importance to the Palestinian people and for the peace process in the Middle East. It was hoped that its clear message to Israel would lead to the cessation of illegal Israeli action. It was also hoped it would return the peace process to the correct track, despite negative indications and irresponsible comments. If Israel did not take the right path, another emergency special session would be needed.

Statements in explanation of vote were also made by the representatives of Eritrea, Morocco, Norway, Russian Federation, Syria, Australia, Germany, Canada, Iran, Lebanon, Cameroon and Uruguay.

Speaking during the debate, the representative of the United States said Israel's decision to begin construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim was unhelpful to the peace process. However, the draft resolution would fail to achieve the goal of making progress towards a peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace required an honest negotiating process. The draft also threatened the orderly conduct of United Nations business as it infringed on the authority of the Security Council.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking for the European Union and associated States, said Israel's construction activities violated the Fourth Geneva Convention and prejudged the outcome of the final status negotiations. They should therefore be suspended. The Union urged the parties to show restraint and return to their political dialogue on all matters under dispute or subject to negotiation. It called on them to make every effort to revitalize the peace process and to refrain from any act which might jeopardize it.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Sierra Leone, New Zealand, Iran, Brunei Darussalam, Syria, Morocco, Sudan, Iraq, South Africa, Mauritania, Brazil, Botswana, Niger, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Korea, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. The Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.

On 7 March, the Security Council, by a vote of 14 in favour to 1 against (United States), failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have expressed deep concern about Israel's decision to build housing units in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghneim, calling on it to refrain from such activities. On 13 March, the General Assembly adopted a resolution expressing concern at the Israeli decision and calling on it to refrain from such actions. On 21 March, the Security Council met again on the issue but failed to adopt a draft resolution because of the negative vote of the United States.

An emergency special session of the Assembly is held under the 1950 General Assembly resolution 377 (V), entitled "Uniting for peace". Under that resolution, the Assembly resolved that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, failed to exercise its primary


Emergency Special Session - 1b - Press Release GA/9238 3rd Meeting (PM) 25 April 1997

responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, "in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression", the General Assembly shall continue the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to the Members for collective measures. Those measures include, in the case of breach of the peace or act of aggression, "the use of armed force when necessary" to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Following today's meeting, the emergency special session was adjourned temporarily. The President of the Assembly is authorized to resume its meetings upon request from Member States.


Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.

A draft resolution before the Assembly (document A/ES-10/L.1) would have the Assembly condemn the construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim to the south of occupied East Jerusalem and all other illegal Israeli actions in all the occupied territories.

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the draft would have the Assembly demand the immediate and full cessation of the construction in Jabal Abu Ghneim and of all other Israeli settlement activities, as well as of all illegal measures and actions in Jerusalem. The Assembly would call for the cessation of all forms of assistance and support for those illegal Israeli activities.

Furthermore, the draft would have the Assembly demand also that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to all the territories occupied since 1967, and that it comply with relevant Security Council resolutions, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

By the text, the Assembly would stress the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all of the occupied Palestinian territory and the need to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the territory, including the removal of restrictions into and from East Jerusalem, and to and from the outside world. It would reaffirm that Israeli settlements in all the territories it had occupied since 1967 were illegal and an obstacle to peace.

Reaffirming the legitimate interest of the international community in the question of Jerusalem and the protection of its unique spiritual and religious dimension, the draft would also recommend that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the issue, which should be reached in permanent status negotiations between the parties, should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities.

The Assembly would reaffirm that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel which have altered or purported to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem were null and void and had no validity whatsoever. It would recommend that States parties to the Geneva Convention take measures on a national or regional level, in fulfilment of their obligations under article 1 of the Convention, to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying Power, of the Convention.

The Secretary-General would be asked to monitor the situation and to submit a report on implementation of the present resolution within two months of its adoption, in particular on the cessation of the construction of a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim and of all other illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory;

The Assembly would express the need for scrupulous implementation of the agreements reached between the parties, and would urge the sponsors of the peace process, the interested parties, and the entire international community to exert all the necessary efforts to revive the peace process and ensure its success. It would also reject terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

In addition, the Assembly would decide to adjourn its tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the Assembly President to resume its meetings upon request from Member States.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Statements

THOMAS SAMODRA SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia) introduced the draft resolution.

JAMES O.C. JONAH (Sierra Leone) said Assembly resolution 377 (V) of 3 November 1950 established guidelines on its role in maintaining peace and security, especially when the Security Council failed to discharge that duty. It established that the responsibility for maintaining peace was not a monopoly of the world powers. There was every reason to believe that, more than any other body, the General Assembly would reflect world opinion on what was right and on the supremacy of international law. Those considerations were as relevant today as they were then.

The Assembly had made significant contributions to the Middle East peace process, he said. In the aftermath of the 1967 conflict there, it had met in special session and endorsed Council resolution 242 (1967), which was the bedrock of all current peace efforts in the region.

All parties today have reached consensus that peace process was in grave danger of collapsing, he said. In those circumstances, how could the Assembly remain silent, particularly when the use of the veto had frustrated action by the Security Council? The deplorable situation of the Palestinian refugees persisted unabated. It was time for the Assembly to make its contribution. The United States had played a critical role in the peace process, but adverse political rhetoric had weakened that process. Urgent action was required to put it back on track.

BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said the Israeli decision to begin construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim was unhelpful to the peace process. However, the relevant draft resolutions in the Assembly and the Council would not have advanced the peace process. He urged Member States to vote against the current draft resolution as it would make more difficult the task of rebuilding confidence between the parties and of reactivating a productive negotiating process. The United States would have preferred that the decision to build a new settlement had not been made.

Achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace required honest negotiating process, he said. The parties must take special care to avoid pre-emptive actions that could be seen to prejudge the outcome of negotiations. They must work hard to nurture an atmosphere of trust and confidence; the decision on Jabal Abu Ghneim did just the opposite. However, the Council and the Assembly should not insert themselves into issues that the negotiating partners had decided would be addressed in their permanent status talks.

The draft resolution before the Assembly would fail to achieve the goal of making progress towards a peaceful and prosperous Middle East, he said. In addition, it contained language that tended to prejudge certain permanent status issues, such as Jerusalem. Such phrases were inappropriate, argumentative and unhelpful to the peace process. He would continue to oppose such language in Assembly and Council resolutions.

The draft resolution also threatened the orderly conduct of the business of the United Nations as it infringed on the authority of the Security Council, he said. By moving in the direction of collective action against one of its Member States, it set a dangerous precedent which, in the future, should be turned against any Member State. The international community must do nothing to place new obstacles in the path to peace. That meant, in particular, not falling back on the punitive, accusatory, backward-looking formulations of resolutions of the past. The current text would have the opposite effect of its advertised intent.

MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) said the purpose for convening an emergency special session was to maintain or restore international peace and security. The decision to convene the present session would be justified if its deliberations were guided by that aim. Peace in the Middle East required that all parties act with integrity.

New Zealand believed that the decision of the Israeli Government to initiate settlements in Jabal Abu Ghneim was inconsistent with international law, he said. His country did not recognize Israel's annexation of Jerusalem. Its settlement activity in the occupied territories was a clear example of a policy which undermined the peace process and prejudiced options for peace.

"Israel should build trust, not settlements", he said. Equally, violence and terrorism were not an acceptable response to the actions by the Government of Israel. The resolution before the Assembly was clear on both points. Peace in the Middle East was achievable, but it could not be forced on the unwilling or the intimidated.

KAMAL KHARRAZI (Iran) said numerous United Nations reports and documents, including the annual reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, had provided ample descriptions of the systematic inhuman practices of the Zionist regime. Those practices included arbitrary mass arrests and shooting of Palestinians, sealing or demolition of homes, and internal closure of the territories. Last year, for the first time, the occupied territories were subjected to total internal closure, resulting in considerable hardship for the everyday life of their inhabitants. The emergency special session should condemn those Israeli practices in the strongest possible terms, as well as the decision to build new settlements on Jabal Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem.

Land confiscation and the building of new housing projects through the use of brute force, intimidation and quiet deportations had always been an integral component of the Zionist grand design to perpetuate its occupation of Palestinian land, he said. The policy of the expansion of Jewish settlements was in line with the long-term Israeli strategy geared towards Judaization and change of the geographic, demographic and religious status of Palestine, and of Jerusalem in particular. That must be stopped forthwith.

The General Assembly had a historic responsibility on the question of Palestine, which it must fulfil, he said. It must also condemn Israel's aggressive policies against the Islamic sacred places and its occupation of Jerusalem. The Assembly must take the lead in condemning and rejecting the illegal Israeli actions and policies in the occupied territories, particularly in East Jerusalem.

JAN BERTELING (Netherlands) spoke on behalf of the European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Iceland and Liechtenstein. He said the Union had taken note with concern of Israel's construction activities in Jabal Abu Ghneim/Har Homa. Those activities violated the Fourth Geneva Convention and prejudged the outcome of the final status negotiations; they should, therefore, be suspended. The Union deeply deplored the violence that had occurred in the past weeks. At this critical time, it was of utmost importance that both parties show restraint and return to their political dialogue on all matters under dispute or subject to negotiation. It called on them to make every effort to revitalize the peace process and to refrain from any act which could jeopardize it.

MOHD NOR JELUDIN (Brunei Darussalam) said that by continuing to build the new settlement at Jabal Abu Ghneim, Israel had defied the international community's call for an immediate halt to construction. Brunei Darussalam called on Israel to cease construction immediately and asked the Security Council to persuade Israel to revoke its decision on the settlement projects.

"We would also like to urge the Israeli leadership to avoid all activities which deprive the Palestinian people of their rights", he said. It was hoped that the Assembly would reflect the strong feelings of all the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and also of the Non-Aligned Movement.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said Member States were compelled to resort to the United Nations to save the peace process which Israel was trying to undermine. The use of the veto in the Security Council had given the Israeli Prime Minister a green light to continue with the construction of settlements. Peace must be based on the Madrid Conference. Israel was still challenging United Nations resolutions and international law, encouraging extremism and racism, and destroying the very body of the peace process. The Madrid Conference was dying. Israel's policies were aimed at total annihilation of the peace process, and its present Government was refusing to abide by commitments made by its predecessor. It had replaced peace with construction of settlements.

He stressed the importance of Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian and Arab lands and the restoration of Palestinian rights. Syria condemned Israeli settlement policies and expressed solidarity with Palestinian people. The General Assembly must take all necessary measures to stop settlement construction in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied territories. Israel should be made to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention. The co-sponsors of the Madrid Conference should be urged to save the peace process.

MOHAMMED AMAR (Morocco) said his delegation was deeply worried by Israel's 26 February decision to continue to implement its illegal settlement policy in the east sector of the holy city of Al-Quds. Over the months, the world had seen Israel build yet another settlement in the Ras Al-Amoud area, open a tunnel in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif precinct, and close the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Al-Quds. Such actions were and would remain unacceptable. Moreover, it was to be feared that Israel's latest arbitrary measures could provoke a wave of anger and discouragement among Palestinians, with unforeseeable consequences.

He said the Ministerial Meeting of the League of Arab States, the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at Islamabad, the recent Al-Quds committee meeting at Rabat, and the twelfth meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement had all called for the adoption of concrete measures to reverse Israeli transgressions in the occupied territories. Morocco called on the international community, and in particular the co-sponsors of the peace process, to act to ensure that there would be no regression in that process. There could be no lasting peace if justice and the mutual recognition of legitimate rights were not recognized.

HAMID ALI MOHAMMED ELTINAY (Sudan) welcomed the convening of the current session of the Assembly on Israel's flagrant violation of Council resolutions and expressed the hope that the international community would bring pressure on Israel to lift its seige. The recent Israeli decision to build new settlements in Jabal Abu Ghneim would have serious consequences for the region, as well as on international peace and security. The Assembly must shoulder its responsibility to put an end to illegal Israeli policies in Jerusalem and to ensure Israel's respect for the legal decisions of the Organization.

The current Israeli activities might sound the death knell to the peace process, he said. Israel must abandon its expansionist policies and respect the rights of the Palestinian people. As an occupying Power, it must also respect the Fourth Geneva Convention. He condemned Israel"s recent actions and called on it to abandon them. NIZAR HAMDOON (Iraq) said Israel's recent settlement construction represented a flagrant violation of Palestinian rights, relevant United Nations resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international agreements and was aimed at changing the character and demographic composition of Jerusalem. That continued violation by Israel could not have happened without the unlimited support of the United States. Those who said the Security Council was not the proper forum to resolve the issue did not hesitate to resort to it for their own purposes. The draft to be adopted by the Assembly should promote the Assembly's role in helping to maintain international peace and security.

FREDERICK O. BERGH (South Africa) said Israel's decision to begin the building of the new settlements had impacted negatively on the peace process. By embarking on that policy, the Israeli Government was engaging in a unilateral attempt to change the legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem, while departing from the principle of land for peace. Its actions in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories constituted a flagrant violation of international law and total disregard of the resolutions of the United Nations.

The Israeli Government should bear full responsibility for the current tension and violence which was gripping the occupied Palestinian territories, he said. Israel must fulfil its obligations under the agreements reached by both parties and demonstrate its commitment to the promotion of peace in the occupied Arab territories. The current draft resolution sent a clear message to Israel that the international community was determined to put the peace process back on track.

OULD YAHYA (Mauritania) said his country attached particular importance to the convening of the emergency special session, which had a legal duty to face the threat to peace posed by Israel's illegal actions in the occupied territories. Those actions violated Council resolutions, international law and agreements which Israel itself had signed.

The question of Jerusalem was a sensitive one for all religions, and especially for Muslims, he said. The Israeli settlements decision was a violation of agreements it had undertaken on the future of Al-Quds and of Council resolutions regarding that city. All countries should support the current draft resolution, in order to reaffirm their support for the attainment of peace in the region and peace and security in the world.

HENRIQUE VALLE (Brazil) said that both the Security Council and the General Assembly had been overwhelmingly supportive of the bold steps that had been taken by leaders in the Middle East since the Madrid Conference of 1991, which had opened the way for real progress in the Gaza strip, Jericho and Hebron. Brazil remained a strong advocate of the peace process as the only viable alternative for stability through tolerance and solidarity among all peoples in the region.

Challenges to the peace process had been overcome in recent years, he said. The remaining challenges must be tackled with the same resolve which produced the momentous results of the past few years. If there was no deliberate intention to retreat from the commitment to peace, mistrust could not be allowed to express itself through disregard for international law, terrorism and other forms of violence. Brazil urged the parties to resume contact in good faith on the basis of the agreements already reached, and to seek inspiration in their own achievements in their search for lasting peace.

JOSEPH DIATTA (Niger) said the task before the Assembly was to take the necessary steps to save the peace process in the Middle East, especially since the Security Council had been unable to make the voice of justice heard. Only strict and full application of the peace accords could enable the parties to materialize the desire for peace that they had expressed during the present session.

The international community must prevent any change in the geographic or demographic composition of Jerusalem that could prejudice the determination of the city's final status, he said. It must consider all actions to that effect as illegal. Al-Quds Al-Sharif was part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, and all the Security Council resolutions concerning those territories should also be applied to it. The international community should make an unambiguous pronouncement against the Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement and against any unilateral measure that could endanger the peace process.

LEGWAILA J.M.J. LEGWAILA (Botswana) said the current session demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of Member States agreed that the construction of the new settlements in East Jerusalem jeopardized the peace process, and that they were ready to stand up and speak to protect it. The session had not been convened merely to express solidarity with the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people and nation, but also to express the bewilderment of the Member States at a blatant and unnecessary threat to the peace process, as well as to make Israel understand the international frustration and concern aroused by its actions. That message could have been even more loud and clear if the United Nations was able to speak with one voice today. Israel would have realized its isolation and abandoned the construction of the new settlements.

He expressed the hope that the Government of Israel would understand that its actions were not in the interest of the peace of Israel itself. That Government should heed the international disquiet caused by the construction of the new settlements in East Jerusalem and abide by the letter and spirit of the peace agreements it freely entered into with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said Israel was aiming to change the demographic composition and legal status of Jerusalem and to perpetually occupy East Jerusalem by bringing Jews to live there. Such acts contravened the United Nations resolutions on Palestine and relevant international law. There could be no peace in occupied lands. It was the sacred right of the people in those territories to strive for freedom and liberation.

As a rule, wherever there was occupation and repression, there would be resistance, he said. The issue of the Middle East should be resolved fairly and comprehensively on the principle of land for peace. Israel should immediately halt its construction of new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

FERNANDO GUILLEN (Peru) said Israeli expansionist acts were unacceptable. They ran counter to the resolutions of the Council and international law and should be abandoned for the cause of peace, security and recognized international borders. The eastern zone of Jerusalem had been protected by Council resolutions, which determined that Israel could not have sovereignty over the city. Since 1947, the Assembly had emphatically called for the respect of holy places. Any peace agreement must contain internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the right of all religions to visit Jerusalem. Any Member of the Organization had the right to refer to the Assembly on the occasion of a threat to those rights.

He said the Assembly must send a message to the concerned parties to resume the peace process immediately. It must call for the abstention of any act of violence by any party at any time.

LUIS VALENCIA RODRIGUEZ (Ecuador) said Jerusalem had a long history in the evolution of human thought, as a crossroads of the world, and as the cradle of mankind's three major religions. In addressing the current situation, Ecuador wished to stress several cornerstone principles of international policy. They were the prohibition of the use or threatened use of force and of the illegitimate occupation of territory, and the duty of all States to resort to peaceful means to settle disputes and conflicts between them. His country supported a peaceful solution that would bring the parties together in a just and lasting peace.

RAMON ESCOVAR SALOM (Venezuela) said that the problem the Assembly was now addressing affected the entire international community. However, he believed that the importance of bilateral talks should not be discounted in finding a solution to the question.

The Assembly, he said, had the task of preserving the peace process in the Middle East. It must not promote contradictions, but rather help solve them. Whatever the Assembly resolved should not damage what had already been achieved in the Middle East peace process. Further, it should also contribute to strengthening United Nations mechanisms, which should be capable of acting whenever necessary to support international order and world peace. Justice should be preserved and the international legal mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts should also be strengthened. He supported all formulas for peaceful co-existence, consensus, commitment, peace, harmony and international solidarity.

AHMET ANGIN ANSAY, Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Israeli decision to construct a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim violated the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly, and threatened to undermine whatever limited progress had thus far been achieved in the Middle East peace process. The situation in Jerusalem would be the principal subject to be raised by Azeddine Laraki, Secretary-General of the Conference, at his meeting with the Assembly President, the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-General and with the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, during his visit to New York next week. Those meetings would follow his contacts this week in Palestine with President Arafat and in Amman with the Jordanian authorities.

He said the Islamic Conference wished to maintain the spirit of solidarity with the Middle East peace process and again condemned the latest decision of the Israeli Government concerning East Jerusalem. A comprehensive and lasting peace in the region could not be achieved without the full implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which emphasized that Jerusalem was part and parcel of the territories occupied since 1967. The Conference continued to believe in the urgency for the Security Council to implement all of its relevant resolutions concerning Jerusalem and to take all necessary measures to prevent Israel from altering its geographical and demographic status. The Council should prevent Israel from taking any action which might affect the status of Jerusalem, which was to be discussed in the subsequent stages of the peace process.

The Conference urged the General Assembly once again to play its role and use its influence in bringing an end to continued Israeli intransigence, he said. It appealed to the Assembly to consider all those Israeli policies and practices as blatant violations of the relevant United Nations resolution, international agreements -- especially the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention -- and of international law. The international community must persuade Israel to lift the siege around Jerusalem. As soon as the necessary measures were taken to restore peace and security in East Jerusalem, the Conference, which represented the concerns of more than 1 billion Muslims all over the world, would reinforce its wholehearted support of the peace process.

Action on Draft

DAVID PELEG (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said that yesterday he had emphasized that there was no justification for convening the emergency special session. He was even more certain of that after reading the draft resolution. The people of the region were looking for solutions and answers, and they would not find them in the draft. The solution could only come from the people of the region themselves. Past agreements had only been achieved through face-to-face negotiations.

He said no resolution regarding the peace process could ignore the problems of terror and violence. It required more than a bland reference in the resolution. It must reject any resort to violence. The Palestinian Authority must work resolutely to root out known elements that prepared acts of terror. They knew who and where those terrorists were. The stakes were too high for the Palestinian Authority to say one thing and do another.

He had been taken aback by the Palestinian Permanent Observer's call yesterday for people to take to the streets to protest. Over the past 24 hours, a number of violent incidents had taken place "in the streets" while the Assembly was meeting. The message to the people must be that the peace process must go forward and that violence was unacceptable.

TESFA ALEM SEYOUM (Eritrea) said that he attached great importance to events in the Middle East. The decision of the Israeli Government to build a new settlement, which had brought about the emergency session, was regrettable. But the question went beyond a dispute over new housing, as it affected the right to self-determination, which was crucial to peace in the Middle East. He believed in the Palestinian's right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent homeland. A just and lasting peace could not prevail without that right. Any agreement that did not guarantee it would not serve the interests of the Palestinians, or of Israel. All previous statements had fallen short in dealing with that factor. Also, the future status of the city of Jerusalem should be looked at in an international context, as stated in paragraph 11 of the draft. Eritrea would vote in favour of the resolution.

GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) said he was concerned that the Security Council had been unable to pronounce itself on the item now before the Assembly because of the use of the veto, a mechanism he would like to see disappear. Dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes were best. The Israeli settlements ran counter to international law and endangered the peace process. At the same time, terrorism could not be justified in any way. The peace process was based on the fundamental inadmissibility of acquiring land by force. He recognized the formula of land for peace and he would have preferred stronger language in support of that legal principle. He would vote in favour of the draft.

DAG WERNO HOLTER (Norway) reiterated his Government's appeal to Israel to respect the Oslo agreements. He expressed concern over the acts of terror against Israeli citizens and a resurgence of violence in the region. Both parties must curb the violence that might derail the peace process. He urged both parties to show restraint and to work towards peace. The adoption of the draft, however, was not conducive to the achievement of the goals of the Oslo agreement. He would abstain.

The President of the Assembly, RAZALI ISMAIL (Malaysia), said that Cambodia and Maldives had become co-sponsors of the draft resolution.

The Assembly adopted the resolution by a vote of 134 in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States), with 11 abstentions. (For details of the vote, see Annex.)

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation), speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said the resolution adequately reflected the serious nature of the building of new settlements and other such actions. While he felt that operative paragraph 11 was not directly related to the topic of the resolution and should not be regarded as foisting upon the parties any solution of the problem, he had voted in favour of the resolution.

He stressed the need for interaction between the two parties in the area of security. He also stressed the importance of operative paragraph 10. He said the reference in the resolution to Council resolution 425 was not appropriate. It was, however, the basis for the settlement between Lebanon and Israel.

KHALIL ABOU-HADID (Syria) said his delegation had strongly supported the convening of the emergency special session. His Government still supported very strongly the inalienable rights of the Palestinians and their right to an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital, all of which was at the very core of the peace process. His country was ready to resume the peace process and had voted in favour of the resolution, based on the belief that the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territories jeopardized peace in the Middle East and the whole world.

His delegation, however, had reservations about the text of the resolution. Operative paragraph 7 should state that all settlement activities by Israel in the lands occupied since 1967 were illegitimate. Those settlements should be considered null and void and against international law. Concerning operative paragraph 11, Syria had hoped that the resolution would not include a vague paragraph on the status of Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem was already determined in related United Nations resolutions. The inclusion of operative paragraph 12 contravened the content of the resolution, which concentrated on the settlements, and derailed the resolution as a whole.

RICHARD ROWE (Australia) said his country in the past had supported, and continued to support, the principles underlying the resolution and strongly endorsed its statements against terrorism. But Australia's fundamental aim was the resumption of negotiations in order to move the peace process forward. The draft would do nothing to advance the result, and Australia had, therefore, abstained.

GERHARD WALTER HENZE (Germany) said the text of the resolution was unbalanced, and he had abstained in the vote.

ROBERT FOWLER (Canada) said he had abstained because the resolution was not helpful at such a critical juncture of the Middle East peace process. He expressed concern at the current impasse and stated his opposition to any unilateral action that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations. The construction of the settlement was a violation of international law and harmful to the peace process. There must also be a determined effort on the part of the Palestinian leadership to combat terrorism.

JALAL SAMADI (Iran) said he had voted in favour of the resolution, although he had reservations concerning paragraph 11. His vote should not be construed as any recognition of Israel.

SAMIR MOUBARAK (Lebanon) said his delegation had voted in favour of the draft. The text should have included a reference to the General Assembly declaration adopted during the fiftieth anniversary, which had reaffirmed the right of people to resist foreign occupation. His delegation also reiterated its condemnation of Israeli terrorism and its continued acts of violence and occupation of Arab territory. The present meeting also included the consideration of the Israeli occupation of Al-Quds. Palestinians and Israelis should negotiate on the status of the holy city within the principles of the Madrid Conference. Israel should comply with the Madrid framework, observe the "land for peace" formula and withdraw from all Arab occupied territories.

JEAN-MARC MPAY (Cameroon) said had he been present he would have voted in favour of the resolution.

The PRESIDENT of the Assembly took note of this observation.

JORGE PEREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) said his country's position had been stated in the earlier General Assembly meeting. Today, he had abstained, as he believed that the question should be left in the hands of the parties, so that they could meet bilaterally.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer of Palestine, expressed his thanks for the overwhelming support for the resolution, which proved the firm stance taken by the international community. It was of historic importance for the Palestinian people and for the peace process in the Middle East. He hoped that the new, clear message to Israel would lead to the desired success and to the cessation of illegal Israeli action. He hoped it would return the peace process to the correct track, despite negative indications and irresponsible comments. If Israel did not take the right path, he would resort once against to the emergency special session.

(annex follows)

Emergency Special Session Press Release GA/9238 3rd Meeting (AM) 25 April 1997

ANNEX

Vote on Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem

The draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem (document A/ES-10/L.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 3 against, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States

Abstaining: Australia, Canada, Germany, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Norway, Romania, Rwanda, Uruguay.

Absent: Bahamas, Belize, Cameroon, Croatia, Fiji, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Uzbekistan, Zaire, Zambia.

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