19/09/2003
Press Release
GA/10152



General Assembly Plenary

Tenth Emergency Special Session

20th Meeting (AM)                                           


GENERAL ASSEMBLY, MEETING IN RESUMED EMERGENCY SPECIAL SESSION,


DEMANDS ISRAEL NOT DEPORT OR THREATEN SAFETY OF YASSER ARAFAT


Reiterating its grave concern at the tragic and violent events that have taken place throughout the occupied Palestinian territory since September 2000, the General Assembly this afternoon demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, not deport or threaten the safety of elected Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.


The measure was adopted by a vote of 133 in favour, to 4 against (Israel, United States, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia), with 15 abstentions, as the Assembly resumed its tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories.


The emergency meeting of the Assembly was called by the Arab Group and non-aligned countries following the United States’ veto of a similar text in the Security Council on Tuesday.  In a letter to the Assembly, the delegation of Sudan requested the meeting “in the light of the inability of the Security Council to fulfil its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security due to the exercise by one of its permanent members of the veto”.

As well as enjoining any Israeli action against Mr. Arafat, the Assembly demanded the complete cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction, and expressed full support for the “Road Map” peace plan.  The Road Map put forward by the “Quartet” -- United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States -- calls for parallel and reciprocal steps by Israel and the Palestinians leading to two States living side by side in peace by 2005.

“The situation in the Middle East has reached a new nadir with the Israeli Government’s decision to remove Yasser Arafat”, said the Observer for Palestine, adding that the Security Council’s failure to act had prevented the international community from addressing the grave consequences that could ensue from that decision.  “It is high time to admit that the central problem is the position of Israel”, he said.


He said the Palestinian Authority had condemned Israel’s policy as “illegal and insane” -- an assault on the dignity of the Palestinian people that, if carried out, would ultimately constitute a terrorist act.  Emphasizing the suffering of the Palestinian people under occupation, he called on the authorities to bring to justice those Israelis who had committed war crimes against the Palestinian people, including Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.


Israel’s representative said the Security Council had rejected a resolution that would have come to the defence of a man who “sought to sabotage the Road Map and prevent the emergence of a new and empowered Palestinian leadership”.  He argued, however, that the text introduced today in the Assembly, which failed to condemn the Palestinian leadership’s abject refusal to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, treated with disrespect the thousands of lives devastated by Palestinian terrorism.


He said the decision of the Israeli cabinet, in principle, merely stated what world leaders had already recognized and what the Road Map had affirmed, namely that Mr. Arafat was an obstacle to peace.  “He is his own people’s greatest tragedy”, he said.  While Israel continued to hold out hope for a new Palestinian leadership that would live up to its obligations, it could not negotiate with those in the Palestinian leadership that were more devoted to destroying the Jewish State than to creating a democratic and vibrant Palestinian State.


The representative of the United States said that while he did not support the elimination or exile of Mr. Arafat, he had opposed and had voted against the resolutions considered during the past week due to their imbalance and omission of certain elements, namely a condemnation of acts of terrorism; an explicit condemnation of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade; and a call for the dismantlement of the infrastructure that supported those terrorists operations.


Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Malaysia’s representative said that the Council, in failing to uphold the rule of law, had left the Assembly as the last bastion of hope for the Palestinian people.  The Security Council’s action Tuesday failed to send the correct signal to Israel.  Even as the Non-Aligned Movement remained committed to the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, its members believed that the Assembly had an obligation to take a strong stand against any actions that further undermined the peace process.  The Assembly must show that the international community and the United Nations had not abandoned the Palestinian people through strong support for the text.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Sudan (on behalf of the Arab Group), Cuba, Russian Federation, China, South Africa, Venezuela, Iran, Guinea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Italy (on behalf of the European Union).


Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of Sudan, Turkey, Nauru, Chile, Guatemala, Peru, Canada, Japan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Cameroon and Cuba.


The Observer of Palestine also spoke after the adoption.


The General Assembly will convene on Monday, 22 September, at 10 a.m. for a one-day, high-level plenary to follow up the outcome of its twenty-sixth special session and the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.


Background


The General Assembly resumed its tenth emergency special session this morning to consider illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, at the request of the League of Arab States.


Tensions heightened last week after the 15-member Israeli Security Cabinet decided to remove Yasser Arafat, whom it accuses of fomenting terrorism.  But the decision did not include specific orders to move against the Palestinian leader.  The cycle of violence between the parties has steadily increased since the collapse a ceasefire between the Israeli Government and Palestinian groups in late June.


Before the emergency session is a draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories (document A/ES-10/L.12), which would have the Assembly demand that Israel, the occupying Power, desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority.  It would also have the Assembly reiterate its demand for the complete cessation of all acts of violence, including acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction.


The tenth emergency special session dates back to 1997 when Israel began construction of a new settlement south of East Jerusalem.  The Security Council met twice on this issue, but failed to adopt resolutions.  Using the “Uniting for Peace” formula, a special emergency session of the Assembly was convened in April and again in July and November of 1997.  It also resumed in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.


In May 2002, the Assembly convened an emergency session and adopted a resolution which, among other things, requested the Secretary-General to present a report on the events that took place in the town of Jenin and other Palestinian cities between March and early May of that year.


Reconvening in August 2002 following the release of the report, the emergency session adopted a resolution demanding the immediate cessation of military incursions and all acts of violence, terror, provocation, incitement and destruction in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.  The text was passed by a vote of 114 in favour, to 4 against, with 11 abstentions.


Statements


NASSER AL-KIDWA, the Observer for Palestine, said that the Palestinians faced a situation in which the occupying force had adopted a policy of attempted removal of an elected leader.  The purpose of today’s meeting was to deal with the situation resulting from the Security Council’s inability to fulfil its primary responsibility for international peace and security, due to the use of the veto by a permanent member of the Council.  That action prevented the international community from addressing the grave consequences that could ensue from Israel’s policy.


The situation in the Middle East, he said, had reached a new nadir with the Israeli Government’s decision to remove Yasser Arafat.  The Palestinian Authority had condemned that policy as illegal and insane; it constituted an assault on the dignity of the Palestinian people and confirmed the intent of the Sharon Government to attack and fragment the Palestinian leadership.  Furthermore, any carrying out of Israel’s threats would constitute terrorist actions.  Prime Minister Sharon represented a threat to the stability of the region, through his rejection of real peace and his insistence on the use of force for a military solution.  Mr. Sharon’s vision was based on the imposition of walls, constricting the Palestinian people onto only a portion of their territory, while Israel would keep the rest of the Palestinian territory and continue to settle it.


Emphasizing the suffering of the Palestinian people under the occupation, he called on the authorities to bring to justice those Israelis who had committed war crimes against the Palestinian people, including Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.  Moreover, it was important to note that although Israel had hijacked the fight against terrorism for its own purposes, it had been the first to introduce terrorism to the region.  It was high time to admit that the central problem was the position of Israel.


ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, introduced the draft resolution.  He then declared that it was necessary for the international community to combat Israel’s colonialist tendencies and force it to obey all relevant United Nations resolutions.  Referring to the wall of separation that Israel was building and its announcement that Mr. Arafat must go, he said it was extremely important for the General Assembly to adopt a decisive resolution that would force Israel to change its ways.


Turning to the United States, he stated that its use of the veto power in the Security Council was frustrating and showed its desire to impose its will on the world.  He added that, despite its supposed role as an honest broker in the Middle East peace process, the United States was blindly supporting Israel and allowing that country to continue flouting Council resolutions.  Thus, it was up to the international community to stop Israel before it was too late.


DAN GILLERMAN (Israel) said the Security Council had rejected a resolution that would have come to the defence of a man who had devoted all of his energies to scuttling a long list of peace efforts now relegated to the dustbins of history.  That man had also sought to sabotage the “Road Map” and prevent the emergence of a new and empowered Palestinian leadership.  Mr. Arafat’s corrupt rule and tolerance for terrorism had caused untold suffering to both Israelis and Palestinians.  Some 30 years ago, Mr. Arafat had first addressed the Assembly with a holster attached to his hip and spoke of carrying a gun and an olive branch.  It was clear that he had only taken the gun out of its holster and that the olive branch had been “a fig leaf to obscure his rejectionism”.  Israel, more than any other State, had invested a great deal in Mr. Arafat’s word.  The decision of the Israeli cabinet in principle merely stated what world leaders had already recognized and what the Road Map had affirmed, namely that Mr. Arafat was an obstacle to peace.  He was his own people’s greatest tragedy.


By failing to condemn the Palestinian leadership’s abject refusal to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, the draft resolution, introduced today, treated with disrespect the thousands of lives devastated by Palestinian terrorism, he stated.  By focusing criticism on the response to terrorism and not the terrorism itself, the draft became devoid of moral substance.  By equating the deliberate murder of innocent civilians with targeted defensive operations against those responsible for that murder, the text provided no moral compass.  There was more at stake today than another resolution.  The United Nations spent millions of dollars each year to advance the Palestinian side to the conflict.  The pandering of the Palestinian agenda not only failed to empower those committed to peace, but also harmed the credibility of the United Nations as a member of the Quartet and a crucial voice in world affairs.


Israel continued to hold out hope for a new Palestinian leadership that would live up to its obligations, he continued.  Israel recognized that ultimately there was no military solution to the conflict.  While it remained committed to making painful compromises, it could not negotiate with those in the Palestinian leadership that were more devoted to destroying the Jewish State than to creating a democratic and vibrant Palestinian State.  If the plague of terrorism were not stamped out, Palestinians and Israelis would continue to suffer.  He urged delegates not to support the draft and to oppose the continuing abuse of United Nations time and resources.


BRUNO RODRÍGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba), Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said “our Committee’s position in this regard is very clear and strong”.  While recognizing Israel’s right for security, the Committee nevertheless condemned in the strongest terms the policy and practice of extrajudicial assassinations, emphasizing that such actions were inadmissible under international humanitarian law.


Likewise, the Committee condemned all attacks against Israeli civilians, whatever the provenance or motivation, as they did not have any moral justification and did not serve the cause of peace and reconciliation pursued by the Palestinian Authority.  The Committee believed, however, that the primary cause for those actions, was the continuing occupation and lack of tangible progress in the political area.


Continuing in his national capacity, he said the deaths of about 3,600 people in the Middle East since September 2000, of which nearly 2,800 were Palestinians, constituted perhaps one of the most massive, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights in the world today.  Just and lasting peace in the region would not be achieved until Israel ended its occupation of all Arab territories and withdrew from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians were allowed to exercise their legitimate right to establish an independent State, and all Israeli settlements were dismantled.


He denounced Israeli threats against the physical integrity of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, saying Mr. Arafat’s leadership had not been destroyed either by the virtual house arrest he had been under for more than a year or by the attacks against his headquarters.  President Arafat’s integrity and life were jeopardized.  “His deportation or arrest would not be erroneous, but a crime.  It would not be a blow to peace, but an act of war”, he stated.  In view of the inability of the Security Council to fulfil its functions, Cuba demanded full respect for the physical integrity and dignity of President Arafat, and urged the Assembly to exercise, without hesitation or delay, its powers under the United Nations Charter in that regard.


RASTAM MOHD. ISA (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that there had been a clear attempt in the Security Council to divert attention, by labelling Yasser Arafat a terrorist and calling for his removal, from the urgent issue at hand, namely Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the humiliation of the Palestinian people.  The 16 September decision of the Security Council constituted a failure to send the correct signal to Israel.  The Council, in failing to uphold the rule of law, had left the General Assembly as the last bastion of hope for the Palestinian people.


Thus, he continued, even as the Non-Aligned Movement remained committed to the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-States solution and the 1967 line, its members believed that the Assembly had an obligation to take a strong stand against any actions that further undermined the peace process.  The Assembly must show that the international community and the United Nations had not abandoned the Palestinian people through strong support for the draft resolution.


SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that Palestinian-Israeli relations were at a new low.  As a result, it was now more necessary than ever to stop all acts of terror.  He called on the Palestinian Authority to do more to stop its citizens from engaging in terror.  At the same time, he emphasized to Israel that removing Mr. Arafat from power would be a grave mistake that would lead to serious problems.  He also stressed that the Security Council needed to apply greater pressure on all parties to implement the Road Map.


WANG GUANGYA (China) said the launch of the Road Map had brought with it new opportunities for the peace process between Israel and Palestine.  Recently, however, there had been serious disagreements between the two on the Road Map’s implementation, leading to a stalemate in the peace talks.  He was deeply concerned about the increased tension in the Middle East.  President Arafat was the legitimate, elected leader of the Palestinian people.  Israel’s decision to expel him would only serve to deepen the hatred between the two sides.  He urged Israel to reconsider its decision.  Israel and Palestine should continue to engage in peace talks, as that would be the only way to end the three-year cycle of violence.  The international community must make even greater efforts to accelerate the Middle East peace process.  As a permanent Council member, China had made efforts to promote the peace process at various stages and was ready to play a constructive role in bringing long-term stability to the Middle East.


DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said that the only meaningful way out of the current dilemma was for international pressure to be brought to bear on both sides to honour their commitments.  The Israeli Government must immediately stop the extrajudicial killings, dismantle settlements and the separation wall, as well as rescind its decision to expel or even consider taking the life of Yasser Arafat.  If the Security Council was to be seen as remaining seized with the Middle East, it must, among other things, place on record that threats to deport or kill Palestinian leaders were unacceptable and illegal, as was the construction of a separation wall on Palestinian land.


He expressed support for the draft resolution, and said the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East was through dialogue and not violence.  The Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination and for a State of their own, existing side by side with the State of Israel within secure and internationally recognized boundaries, was what his country was committed to supporting.


JOHN D. NEGROPONTE (United States) said that the Security Council had heard testimony during its Monday meeting as to the steps the international community must take to revive the Road Map.  In particular, there was a need for:  a rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus to undertake sustained and targeted operations aimed at confronting those engaged in terror; the Government of Israel not to take actions that undermined trust, including among others, deportations, attacks on civilians or demolitions of property; and for Arab States to cut off public and private funding, as well as all other forms of support, for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.


The only available option now was to make the Road Map work.  While the United States did not support the elimination or exile of Mr. Arafat, it opposed the resolutions considered during the past week due to their imbalance and omission of certain elements, namely a condemnation of acts of terrorism; an explicit condemnation of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade; and a call for the dismantlement of the infrastructure that supported those terrorists operations.


MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) expressed concern over the possibility of Mr. Arafat’s expulsion, and hoped that, in the name of lasting peace and security for Israel and Palestine, such a measure would not be implemented.  After all, excluding or isolating any protagonists of the conflict would only hinder the peace process.  What was needed instead was mutual respect and peaceful solutions.  In that regard, he called on all parties to implement the Road Map.  He also emphasized that, in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, only dialogue and cooperation could solve international conflicts.  Finally, he stressed the importance of the relevant Security Council resolutions, which recognized the sovereignty and political independence of all countries in the region, as well as their right to live in peace.


MOHAMMAD HASSAN FADAIFARD (Iran) said the Israeli Government’s intention to expel President Arafat from the Palestinian territory was the latest attempt to preclude efforts aimed at restoring Palestinian rights.  He noted that the building of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory throughout the past several months had never ceased, contrary to Israeli commitments.  Despite the ceasefire declared by the Palestinian groups, the Israeli Government never stopped their armed aggression.  “Their bloody campaign against the Palestinians, including their criminal policy of extrajudicial executions, went on unabated”, he said.


In addition, he regretted the decision by the United States to resort to the veto to block the passage of a draft resolution in the Security Council, which would have criticized the Israeli regime for its crime against the Palestinians and urged them not to deport President Arafat.  The international community, especially the Quartet, should live up to their responsibility and prevent the Israelis from continuing to flout their will, he stated.


ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) said the adoption of the Road Map had given rise to the hope that the Middle East region, particularly Palestine, would find itself on the road to peace and stability.  Unfortunately, the respite had been all too short.  The decision, in principle, to ban President Arafat, to confine him, and to threaten his life, brought with it a new cycle of violence and reprisals.  It was a serious political error with unpredictable consequences.  The international community must act to stop the deterioration of the peace process and work with greater unity to relaunch peace talks.  Its action must be reflected through the adoption of the resolution before the Assembly.


Mr. Arafat, he said, was the incarnation of the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.  Reaffirming that Israel and Palestine had the right to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders, he urged all the parties to work for the resumption of the peace process.  He hoped the Quartet’s meeting would contribute to providing a new impetus for the Road Map and promote the quick advent of a new era of peace and prosperity in the region.


PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that Israel’s decision to expel Mr. Arafat, the legitimately elected President of the Palestinian people, constituted a wanton violation of Palestinian sovereignty and an act of international terrorism in defiance of international law and practices.  That decision once again frustrated the expectations of the Palestinian people, who were longing for a peaceful solution to the crisis.  His country hoped that Israel would revoke its decision to expel Mr. Arafat and pull out of the occupied territories, and that the Palestinian State, headed by Mr. Arafat, would be realized at an early date.


MARCELLO SPATAFORA (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Israeli decision to expel the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority was a serious mistake, adding further to the tension and undermining any negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict.  He also condemned terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens in the strongest possible terms; the authors of those attacks were enemies of peace.  For that reason, the political branch of Hamas had been added to the list of European terrorist organizations.


Furthermore, he reaffirmed the strategic importance of the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace and emphasized the need for the new Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qorei, to form a new government empowered to act decisively on the fight against terrorism.  Also important was relaunching the peace process with Israel within the framework of the Road Map, and continued political and economic reform of the Palestinian Authority.  There was no alternative, in the quest to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region, to the speedy implementation of the Road Map.


Action on Text


After an extended recess, Mr. SPATAFORA (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that after intensive and constructive consultation with the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, the European Union had several proposals to amend the preambular section of the text, including the insertion of paragraphs condemning suicide bombings and deploring extrajudicial killings.


Mr. ERWA (Sudan), speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, accepted the amendments proposed by the representative of Italy.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, ÜMIT PAMIR (Turkey) said that he would vote in favour of the draft resolution.  Aligning himself with the statement delivered by the representative of Italy, he denounced all forms of violence.  Maintaining that terrorism could never be justified, he, nevertheless, stated that combating terrorism should not lead to more violence.  He stressed that all parties to the Road Map should comply with their obligations, since the tragic cycle of violence was robbing all generations of their right to peace.  Emphasizing that it was the responsibility of both parties and the international community to work towards peace, he said the deportation of an elected leader would not help the situation.


VINCI NIEL CLODUMAR (Nauru) said that his delegation would abstain, as it considered both parties to be correct in their desire for peace and security and wrong in their “ways and means” of achieving their goals.  His country’s desire was to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict.  In that regard, he encouraged both sides to let the “roots of the peace process grow into a tree under which all the children of Abraham could abide”.


In a vote of 133 in favour, 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 15 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted the draft resolution, as orally amended.  Since its introduction, Bangladesh, Libya and Morocco had become co-sponsors of the text.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) said that his country had unequivocally condemned Israel’s decision to remove President Arafat from office as an assault on the dignity of the Palestinians.  Moreover, Chile condemned any and all acts of terrorism, whatever their source.  The loss of life among Palestinians and Israelis alike deserved consideration.  He had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it had garnered broad support in the Assembly.  However, he believed that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would only be found at the negotiating table and that all efforts should be made in the days ahead to resume negotiations in accordance with the terms of the Quartet’s Road Map.


GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that he was joining the clamorous call of the international community to halt the relentless spiral of violence in the region.  Deploring the loss of innocent lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, he, nevertheless, stressed that he could not sanction the extrajudicial killings that were taking place in response.  Declaring that concrete, reciprocal actions from both sides were needed for peace, he voiced support for the Quartet’s efforts to revive the Road Map.  In order to avoid greater polarization, he had abstained during the vote.


OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) said that he strongly supported an end to all acts of violence.  He also agreed that acts of deportation could not be tolerated.  Peru supported all efforts of the Quartet to ensure that the parties complied with the Road Map.  He had abstained because the resolution did not contain a clear-cut denunciation of acts of terrorism.  Peru had also endured terrorism.  Terrorism, he said, had also claimed the lives of Sergio Vieira de Mello and United Nations staff members just a month ago.


PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said that there was much in the draft resolution that Canada supported, including the demands on both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement their obligations under the Road Map.  Yet, while the decision to expel Mr. Arafat, extrajudicial killings, and the expansion of settlements and the security fence could not be condoned, the resolution devoted insufficient attention to the Palestinian Authority’s need to take immediate and meaningful steps to address terrorist acts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups.  For those reasons, among others, Canada had abstained.


KOJI HANEDA (Japan) said that, although he did not support the deportation of leaders, the Palestinian Authority must take immediate action to fight terrorism.  Declaring that he had voted in favour of the resolution, he maintained that it was important for Palestinians and Israelis to work together to achieve peace.


FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said that he had voted in favour of the draft resolution because of his country’s conviction that the United Nations had a responsibility for finding a just and comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem and for protecting the Palestinian people and its leadership.  He also voted in favour of the text because the resolution contained a clear signal from the international community that Israeli practices, foremost of which was the occupation, were the primary cause for current events in the region.  Israeli policies, such as the building of colonial settlements, were illegal under international law and must be stopped.


Palestinian actions were only a reaction to the persistence of Israel’s practices, including the occupation and the building of settlements, as well as war crimes and State sponsored terrorism.  He had reservations to the preambular part of the resolution, including the condemnation of suicide bombings.  Syria was committed to finding a just and comprehensive peace.  To achieve that goal, Israel would have to cease its practices and demonstrate political will to achieve peace in the region.


ARYE MEKEL (Israel) said that, after the vote in the Security Council, Mr. Arafat had been quoted as saying that such resolutions were of little importance.  No doubt he would now change his tune.  However, the resolution adopted today would not bring Israel and the Palestinians any closer to peace, nor enhance the reputation of the United Nations.  The fundamental root of the conflict concerned Mr. Arafat’s refusal to recognize the right of Israelis to live in a State side by side with the Arab States.  That was the message sent when innocent men, women and children were blown to pieces on buses and in cafes.  Israel had voted against the resolution because the peace process would not be advanced by one-sided resolutions, nor by coming to the defence of a man who had done nothing to enhance that peace.  It was disappointing, given that some delegations in the room felt the same, to see them vote against their consciences.


SAMI KRONFOL (Lebanon) said that he had voted in favour of the resolution to express support for the demands of the Palestinians, whose lands had been illegally occupied and who were facing great injustice.  He stressed that his vote did not imply total agreement with the entire resolution, which did not contain a clear condemnation of Israel for its crimes against the Palestinian people.  He also said the adoption of the resolution today, like those adopted in the Security Council, was proof that the international community viewed the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.


MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said that his position on the matter was well known.  He urged the parties to accept one another.  Any solution that disregarded the need for dialogue would be a road that led to nowhere.  He urged all the parties to learn to build peace in the Middle East.  Peace required the establishment of a Palestinian State, side by side with an Israeli State, living in security.  He appealed for the conditions needed for the resumption of a constructive dialogue.  He believed in the physical integrity of President Arafat.  He had abstained because the amendments to the original text brought a new dimension to the text and he would have needed further consultations with his capital.


Mr. AL-KIDWA, Observer of Palestine, expressed the heartfelt appreciation of the Palestinian people upon the adoption of the resolution.  While it was felt that the amendments proposed by the European Union had been unbalanced, they had been agreed to under the circumstances.  However, for a limited number of States, it seemed that factors other than the text and language used determined their positions when voting upon such resolutions.  The agreement achieved on the resolution demonstrated once again that no similar efforts to achieve consensus had ever been made in the Security Council.  With the General Assembly’s action, the international community had taken a clear stance on the issue and it was to be hoped that the message would be conveyed to the Israeli Government.  The statement made by the representative of Israel a moment ago had showed, however, that his prior attitude continued.


YURI ARIEL GALA LOPEZ (Cuba) said that his Government had a tradition of offering support to Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.  In that context, the European Union’s amendments, which condemned suicide bombings but merely deplored extrajudicial killings, were contemptuous and hypocritical.


ANNEX


Vote on Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied Palestinian Territory


The draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/ES-10/L.12) was adopted, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 4 against, with 15 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.


Against:  Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States.


Abstain:  Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nauru, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Tonga, Tuvalu.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Bahamas, Bhutan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Niger, Palau, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


* *** *