ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR PARTIES TO FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION TO MEET ON MEASURES TO ENFORCE ITS APPLICATION IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

9 February 1999
GA/9544

ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR PARTIES TO FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION TO MEET ON MEASURES TO ENFORCE ITS APPLICATION IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

9 February 1999

Press ReleaseGA/9544

ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR PARTIES TO FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION TO MEET ON MEASURES TO ENFORCE ITS APPLICATION IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

19990209 Resolution Adopted during Emergency Special Session Recommends That Conference Be Convened on 15 July in Geneva

The General Assembly reiterated its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, by a resolution adopted this afternoon during its resumed tenth emergency special session to consider illegal Israeli action in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Adopting the text by a vote of 115 in favour to 2 against (Israel and United States) with five abstentions (Australia, Bahamas, Cameroon, Romania and Swaziland) (see annex), the Assembly recommended that the conference be convened on 15 July at the United Nations Office at Geneva, and expressed its confidence that Palestine would participate.

By other terms, the Assembly reiterated its recommendation that Member States cease all forms of support for illegal Israeli activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, in particular settlement activities. It affirmed that increased efforts must be exerted to bring the peace process back on track and to continue the process towards the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace.

The Assembly also reiterated the demands it had made in resolutions previously adopted during its emergency special session. It demanded that Israel, as occupying Power, accept the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in time of war to the territories occupied since 1967 and that it cease and reverse all illegal actions taken against the Palestinian Jerusalemites.

In a statement during the general debate which preceded the vote, Egypt's representative said Israel was seriously violating the Fourth Geneva Convention by actions including the continued and intensifying confiscation of

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lands and the closure of areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. As the Convention itself stated that parties to it would act in cases of serious violation, the resolution was fully justified, he stressed.

The representative of the United States, however, said the resolution prejudged negotiations on permanent status issues and hampered the chances of achieving peace. Like past resolutions, the text politicized the Convention which was primarily humanitarian in nature. He called on all Member States to vote against the text.

There was no consensus among States parties on convening a conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention, the Observer for Switzerland said. Switzerland, the depositary of the Convention, could not play an active role in convening the conference unless States parties first defined procedures to handle grave violations, he said. Consultations, however, were ongoing.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Japan, Namibia, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Botswana, Iran, China, Morocco, Swaziland, Israel, Cuba, Canada, Australia, Norway, Uruguay, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Observer for Palestine.

The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced in the Journal.

Assembly Work Programme

The Assembly this afternoon was scheduled to continue its tenth emergency special session, which is considering "Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian Territory". It had before it a related draft resolution (document A/ES-10/L.5/Rev.1).

By that draft, the Assembly would express grave concern at the suspension, on 20 December 1998, by the Government of Israel of the implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, signed at the White House in Washington, D.C., on 23 October 1998, including the negotiations on the final settlement, which should be concluded by 4 May. It would also reaffirm that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, which have altered or purport to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, are null and void and have no validity whatsoever.

The Assembly would reiterate, in the strongest terms, all the demands made of Israel in earlier resolutions of the tenth emergency special session (resolutions ES-10/2 of 25 April 1997, ES-10/3 of 15 July 1997, ES-10/4 of 13 November 1997 and ES-10/5 of 17 March 1998). Those demands include the immediate and full cessation of the construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim and of all other Israeli settlement activities, as well as of all illegal measures and actions in Occupied East Jerusalem; the acceptance of the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, on the protection of civilians in time of war to all the territories occupied since 1967, and compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions; the cessation and reversal of all actions taken illegally against Palestinian Jerusalemites; and the provision of information about goods produced or manufactured in the settlements.

It would also reiterate its previous recommendations to Member States for the cessation of all forms of assistance and support for illegal Israeli activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in particular settlement activities, and to actively discourage activities that directly contribute to any construction or development of those settlements. The Assembly would affirm that, in spite of the actual deterioration of the Middle East peace process as a result of the lack of compliance by the Government of Israel with the existing agreements, increased efforts must be exerted to bring the peace process back on track.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would reiterate its recommendation that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and would further recommend that the High Contracting Parties convene the conference on 15 July at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The

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Assembly would also invite the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as the depositary of the Geneva Convention, to undertake whatever preparations are necessary prior to the conference.

The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to make the necessary facilities available to enable the High Contracting Parties to convene the conference and would express its confidence that Palestine, as a party directly concerned, will participate in it. The Assembly would decide to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the most recent General Assembly to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

Statements

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) expressed extreme sorrow at the passing of Jordan's King Hussein, who had been a universally revered statesman. He also expressed sympathy to the Government and people of Colombia for the suffering were experiencing as a result of the recent earthquake. Japan had dispatched rescue teams, medical personnel and disaster relief assistance.

In January, Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Masahiko Koumura, had visited Israel, the Palestinian self-governing area, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, he said. He had called for the full implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, and had advocated guiding principles regarding southern Lebanon. Those four principles were as follows: Israeli forces should withdraw from southern Lebanon as stipulated in Security Council resolution 425 of 1978; that withdrawal should lead to a comprehensive Middle East peace; it should not be hindered and parties should discuss its concrete steps without preconditions; and the international community should support the stabilization of southern Lebanon after Israeli withdrawal.

He said Japan had already contributed $400 million in aid to Palestinians, and, at the Conference to Support the Middle East Peace Process and Development -- held in November last year -- it had pledged up to $200 million more over the next two years. Japan wanted to play a more active role in ensuring that assistance by donors was used effectively, and in nurturing an environment where assistance would contribute to confidence-building among the parties concerned. Japan was ready to host the ad hoc liaison committee meeting in Tokyo this year.

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The parties concerned must be unrelenting in their efforts to resolve problems through dialogue, he said. Oppression and violence created further oppression and violence. Unilateral action that could amplify misunderstanding and distrust should be avoided. Japan was determined to play a political role by approaching the parties concerned with a view to stimulating political dialogue between them. Bearing in mind the work of the Government of Switzerland in its capacity as the depositary of the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of persons in time of war, Japan was ready to support the draft resolution.

NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said the emergency session had resumed with the aim of fulfilling its responsibilities regarding Israel's illegal activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, at the forefront of which were the establishment and expansion of settlements. Since the session had adopted its first resolution nearly two years ago, Israel continued to implement and intensify settlement. In doing this it not only ignored General Assembly resolutions, but also the international consensus on the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Daily, Israel announced its unwillingness to cease construction and expansion of settlements, and challenged the will of the international community by confiscating territory after the signing of the Wye River Memorandum.

A serious question -- when the international community would cease to allow Israel to continue -- was now raised, he stated. The international community must assert its position until Israel complied and retreated. Measures Israel took, such as confiscation of civilian lands, transfer of populations and construction of houses and infrastructure, were all measures outlawed by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In 1997, at its resumed emergency special session, the Assembly had recommended convening a conference of the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, he said. It had adopted this recommendation by a clear majority. The Government of Switzerland had responded favourably to the request, and Egypt appreciated its efforts. Two meetings had been convened, one for Palestinians and Israelis in June 1998, and the other for States parties at the expert level last October.

The Arab side had lent full support to those meetings, while not believing they were alternatives to the conference, he said. Almost one-and- a-half years had elapsed since preparations had begun for convening the conference and the time had come to specify a date for it. The conference must be the collective responsibility of the States parties to the Convention. This Assembly resumption and the draft resolution before it were based on respect for international humanitarian law and were aimed at preventing its erosion.

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The Convention itself stated that the parties agreed to act in cases of serious violations in cooperation with the United Nations, he said. Serious violations were occurring, including continued and intensifying confiscation of lands, construction of the pass roads and closure of areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Those violations fully justified the adoption of the resolution and the setting of a date, next April, for the conference. He invited the Assembly to accept its responsibilities and adopt the draft resolution.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) expressed sympathy to the people of Jordan on behalf of the people of Namibia. He said that the continuing violation and breach by Israel of relevant resolutions and international human rights law could only delay the peace. The international community had to exert pressure on Israel to resume its obligations under international agreements. His Government appreciated the parallel efforts by Switzerland, which in October 1998 had convened a meeting of experts of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, where general problems concerning the Convention had been discussed. It was convinced of the urgent need for a conference by the Parties on measures to enforce the Convention's provisions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem.

He expressed his Government's continued solidarity with the Palestinian people, their achievement of self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. The draft resolution was an important element in the resolution of the question of Palestine, and his delegation endorsed it fully. As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Namibia supported and endorsed the Bethlehem 2000 International Conference to be held in Rome on 18 to 19 February. He called on Member States to support the African meeting in support of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, which would take place from 20 to 22 April in Windhoek, Namibia.

AYMAN AAMIRY (Jordan) said that illegal Israeli practices adversely affected prospects for peace in the region. Some had questioned the reasons for the resolution currently before the Assembly. But was not the peaceful settlement of such conflicts at the core of the United Nations? Was not the promotion of healthy international relations the goal of the Organization? he asked. Had the peace process that started seven years ago remained on the right track, there would be no need for this special session. Jordan was greatly concerned over the paralysis that had struck the peace process. The peace process should not become a slogan devoid of meaning. Peace meant a commitment to respect justice, as well as the rights and legitimacy of others. The current Israeli Government had failed to respond to calls for peace.

He said the road to security entailed enhancing mutual confidence and setting aside the practice of making illegitimate gains. Peace did not entail

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destroying Palestinian homes just because they were built without licences. It also did not mean arbitrary practices to depopulate the land and prepare land for settlements. Such actions represented a threat to peace in the region and hindered normal relations. Israel had shirked its responsibility under the Wye River Memorandum. The late King Hussein had made every effort to aid the creation of an agreement at Wye River, yet the Israeli Government had decided to undermine it.

ALI FAHED FALEH AL-HAJRI (Qatar), speaking on behalf of the Islamic Group, said the reason for today's Assembly session was to reaffirm previous recommendations, notably the recommendation on the holding of a conference of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The time had begun to prepare to hold the conference as had been recommended. The Islamic Group was greatly dissatisfied with the activities of Israel in holy places. The expansion of settlement colonies, the destruction of homes and the removal of identification cards clearly defied the will of the international community.

He demanded that the international community shoulder its responsibility to force Israel to bow to the international will and return to legality. Israel's measures and activities affected all peace-loving States and the sensibilities of the Islamic world. Qatar called on all peace-loving countries to support the draft resolution before the Assembly, to help the Palestinians achieve freedom.

ABDULRAHMAN AL-AHMED (Saudi Arabia) said the resumption of this session of the Assembly was evidence that the international community took keen interest in meeting its responsibilities to the Palestinian people. In a previous session, an overwhelming majority had demanded that Israel desist from creating settlements and other acts that would affect the Occupied territories. Israel's actions negatively affected the peace process and created further complications. Israel continued to defy the international community.

Israel's behaviour had brought the peace process to a dead end, he said. The behaviour of the current Israeli Government did not make Arab States hopeful that a peaceful resolution of conflict could be achieved, unless Israel upheld agreements and entered into serious negotiations with Palestinians, with Syria and with Lebanon. Saudi Arabia appealed to the international community, and to the United States in particular, to take all necessary steps to salvage the peace process and to end Israeli transgressions, particularly in holy Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia had supported the peace process, and Arab States, at their summit in Cairo in June 1996, had adopted a unanimously firm position that peace was an Arab strategic choice, he said. There would be no retreat from

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this position, but they were concerned at continuing violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Saudi Arabia called on the High Contracting Parties to convene a conference to enforce the convention in the occupied Palestinian territories and especially in Jerusalem. It hoped the international community would seriously assume its responsibility to address Israeli transgressions.

JEMAT HAJI AMPAL (Brunei Darussalam) said Israeli's policies in occupied East Jerusalem and other occupied territories continued to be the main obstacle to real progress in the peace process. His country was particularly disappointed that construction of the housing units in the new settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim and the by-pass roads in the West Bank was still ongoing. Relevant Security Council resolutions as well as the "land-for-peace" formula should continue to be the basis for negotiations in order to arrive at a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.

He said his country called on all parties concerned to continue urging the Israelis to comply with all previous resolutions of the tenth emergency special session and to immediately bring the peace process back on track. He stressed the importance of ensuring the continuity of the process so that durable peace and stability in the region could be achieved.

TEBELELO A. BOANG (Botswana) conveyed condolences to the Government and people of Jordan on the sad occasion of the demise of King Hussein. He hoped that the people of the Middle East would honour the King's memory by transforming the region into a zone of peace.

He said it worried him that the timing of pending national elections in Israel, which made it impossible for the Government to continue its implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, took precedence over the search for peace. Activities which were contrary to the peace process did manage to find space in Israel's calendar. Expropriation of Palestinian lands and illegal settlement construction had continued even when the Memorandum remained frozen.

He called on the Israeli Government to live up to its side of the bargain. Israel's search for a secure environment for its citizens was inseparable from the inalienable right of Palestinians to a place of their own. Israelis from all walks of life, particularly those who really yearned for peace, should not cease to work tirelessly for a day when all children of Abraham could live together. Finally, the time had come for the dates and venue for the conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to be determined.

PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said his country was working to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the conflict in the Middle East, which was a goal shared by all. Did the emergency special session, or the

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draft resolution, contribute to that goal? he asked. The answer was clearly no. The draft resolution did not, in content or tone, advance the cause of peace in the Middle East or even promise to improve the lot of the Palestinians. In fact, the text was likely to damage the environment between the parties, precisely when actions were needed on both sides to improve it. The Palestinians and the Israelis had agreed to handle the issues raised today in their negotiations. Neither the United Nations nor any other body should interfere in that discussion.

The draft's call for a meeting of all the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied territories could damage the climate necessary for productive and ultimately successful negotiations, he continued. Its language and the steps it proposed prejudged negotiations on permanent status issues and hampered the chances for eventually achieving the goal of peace. Like past resolutions, the text was an unacceptable assault on the basic uses and meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It was another step in politicizing that Convention, which was primarily humanitarian. The draft was redundant and hortatory and would not advance the process even incrementally.

The international community should not lose sight of its goal, he said. The United States had not done so. It wanted to see the Wye River Memorandum implemented in its entirety, by both sides, as soon as possible. It wanted to see progress in the permanent status negotiations. That was why the United States would vote "no" on the draft, and asked all other States to do the same.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the four resolutions adopted by the tenth emergency special session had explicitly condemned Israel for failing to comply with the decisions of the General Assembly. The resolutions had also denied the validity of the Israeli illegal actions. The rejection and defiance of those and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations illustrated the intention of the Israeli Government to continue its notorious policy of expansion and forcible occupation of the land of others through aggression, use of brute force and intimidation. Such unlawful policies and inhumane practices had not only been directed against the inhabitants of the occupied territories, but had also been conducted to perpetuate the refugee status of 4 million Palestinians who live in a diaspora. The continuation of that unjust situation would certainly prolong the suffering of Palestinians both in the occupied territories and in the refugee camps.

It was imperative for the Assembly to take the lead in condemning and rejecting illegal Israeli policies and practices, he said. A meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention would be a step forward in addressing issues of a humanitarian nature at time of armed conflicts or in occupied territories. As the fiftieth anniversary of the four

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Geneva Conventions approached, momentum would be created for the international community to reaffirm its determination to safeguard and promote the principles of humanitarian law. Iran hoped that such a Conference would contribute to the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

QIN HUASUN (China) expressed sorrow about the passing away of King Hussein and said the best way to honour his memory would be to advance the peace process for which he had worked throughout his life. The Israeli Government had recently decided to suspend implementation of the Wye peace accord, continue building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and postpone the second-phase troop withdrawal from the West Bank. Those actions, which sabotaged the peace process and created tensions in the region, should be ceased immediately.

The Palestine issue was at the core of the Middle East question, he continued. Only after it was solved in a reasonable and just manner and all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people were restored could a just and lasting peace be forged between Israel and Palestine, and peace and development in the Middle East be realized. A political settlement to the Middle East question should be based on relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of "land for peace". The Middle East peace process was at a crucial juncture. All parties should cherish the hard-won peace, carry out their obligations, abide by agreements already reached and advance the peace process flexibly and pragmatically.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) said this emergency session had been resumed four times. At those meetings the Assembly had adopted resolutions which condemned Israeli policies, particularly those on settlements. Unfortunately, it had not been able to persuade Israel to reason. Israel continued to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention in its policies of confiscation of property and creation of settlements, to cite but two examples. As it persisted in shirking it responsibilities, Israel made this resumed session inevitable. This resumption was, however, designed to be the last call. Morocco supported a new recommendation to the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to convene a conference on 15 July.

He wished to take the opportunity, he said, to make a new appeal to Israel to reconsider its decision to suspend the Wye River Memorandum. There could be no peace without justice and fairness. Israel blocked the peace process for security reasons, but it could only be secure if its neighbours were secure. All people aspired to security, and to tolerance, equality, coexistence, development and peace. He hoped that the end of the century would see the close of this sombre chapter in the Middle East. He hoped that future generations would recall the conflict as part of the previous century.

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MOSES MATHENDELE DLAMINI (Swaziland) said the international community had continued to urge both Palestinians and Israelis to come to a conference table. The parties had met on a number of occasions, including the Oslo conference, the Washington conference and most recently the Wye River conference. The Assembly had a responsibility to produce a resolution that would call on all parties to live up to their commitments made in all those conferences. Time was running out to live up to such agreements. His delegation, however, had yet to see a resolution that set out a time-frame for adherence to the peace agreements.

The Fourth Geneva Convention did not address political situations, but humanitarian ones, he said. The situation before the Assembly today was political. In light of that, his delegation would abstain from voting on the draft resolution. When your brothers were fighting, you took no side, but stood in the middle and reminded them of their responsibility to coexist and live peacefully, he said. The solution to the conflict lay at the conference table.

JENO C.A. STAEHELIN, observer for Switzerland, said that as a State party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, it considered that the Convention fully applied to the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. Switzerland was concerned at the deterioration of conditions in the occupied territory, and made an appeal to parties to abide by the Convention.

However, Switzerland also played the role of depositary of the Convention, he said. In resolution ES-10/3 of 1997 the Assembly had recommended States parties convene a conference on measures to implement the Convention in the occupied territories and to ensure respect for its provisions. After the adoption of that resolution, Switzerland had begun consultations with States parties, requesting their views on holding a conference and its possible outcome. It transpired that there was no consensus among States parties on the timeliness of such a conference. In addition, the Convention itself did not specify modalities. A consensus of States parties would have made convening a conference possible as recommended. But Switzerland must construe its role as depositary in a restricted sense, when rules were not clearly defined or action was controversial.

Given repeated recommendations of the General Assembly, Switzerland had continued consultations, he said. It had contacted States and organizations concerned and sought to identify measures that would lend themselves to consensus and respect for the Convention in the Territories. It had invited the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to a closed meeting, in the presence of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to examine mechanisms for effective implementation in the occupied territories. The meeting had been held from 9 to 11 June 1998. Views had been exchanged and they had agreed to meet again to consider ideas and suggestions. The hope of

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making a contribution to a rapid improvement of observance had not yet been realized, but such a meeting could produce positive results as long as the principle of respect for the provisions was not thrown into question.

A second meeting had, regrettably, been postponed several times, he said. Unfortunately, there was no guidance in the Convention on modalities for enforcement or for dispute settlement. Shortly, the Assembly would vote on a resolution recommending the convening of a conference of States parties on 15 July. The timing had been the subject of difficult negotiations.

Switzerland had been asked to take action to convene the conference, he said. What would Switzerland's role be, he asked. In transmitting the report of an expert meeting it had previously convened, Switzerland had announced its intention to undertake new consultations with States parties, the ICRC and other organizations. Those consultations had already begun informally. However, Switzerland could not play an active role in convening such a conference unless States parties first defined procedures for handling grave violations.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said the Palestine Liberation Organization had consistently violated the 1994 Oslo accords, where it had agreed to address all issues of permanent status through negotiations. This resolution did not support the peace process, but undermined it. The call for a conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention was a vulgar distortion of humanitarian law for narrow political purposes. No such conference had been held in the past, and no such conference could have any relevance to the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, where 97 per cent of Palestinians lived under Palestinian rule.

He said international political reality was undergoing Orwellian contractions here today. Compliance with peace agreements had been portrayed as illegality. It also represented a total abuse of the United Nations system. Emergency special sessions were only intended in times of threats to peace and international security. Given the problems of the world, this special session was a waste of international resources. The resolution before the Assembly would only encourage unilateral Palestinian actions. Israel hoped that the international community would support a negotiated settlement and compliance with past resolutions, not encourage unilateral actions and anarchy.

RAFAEL DAUSA CESPEDES (Cuba) said his delegation wished to be added to the list of co-sponsors of the draft resolution.

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Action on Text

The Assembly then approved the text by a vote of 115 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 5 abstentions (Australia, Bahamas, Cameroon, Romania and Swaziland). (See annex.)

MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution because of its support for the principles contained therein. Canada remained greatly concerned at Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories. Israel should stop those activities which violated international law and were harmful to the peace process. Canada's policy was that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem. He called on Israel to accept de jure applicability of the Convention in the occupied territories.

However, Canada regretted that the General Assembly was again using the emergency special session mechanism in an unhelpful manner, he said. Also, the resolution had been complicated by language which would not benefit the peace process, and by the inclusion of elements which were not germane to the question of convening the conference on the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

As a High Contracting Party to the Convention, Canada thanked the Government of Switzerland for its efforts in organizing the October 1998 meeting of experts regarding the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to occupied territories in general, he said. Canada's decision about the merits of convening the conference called for in operative paragraph 6 of the resolution would be made after a full examination of the necessity and possible outcome of such a conference; the cost implications of it; and, of course, full consultations with other High Parties.

Deeply concerned by the current impasse in the negotiating process and the lack of progress in implementing the Wye River Memorandum, Canada called on both the Israelis and the Palestinians to implement in full the agreements which had been concluded, he said. He urged both parties to refrain from any unilateral action that would jeopardize or prejudge the outcome of the negotiations.

JOHN H. CRIGHTON (Australia) said Australia supported the resolution's underlying principle that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied to the occupied territories, so it regretted not being able to support the resolution. Settlement activity harmed the peace process, and it had grave concerns about the current state of that process. However, given the current situation in the region, including the elections in Israel, the timing of the resolution was not appropriate and Australia had therefore abstained.

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HANS BRATTSKAR (Norway) said it was the obligation of the parties themselves to carry the peace process forward. They should refrain from unilateral actions and engage in final status negotiations. His delegation believed the emergency session was not conducive to the peace process and also disagreed with several elements of the resolution. However, while it had reservations to the resolution, it had voted in favour of it.

JULIO BENITES SAENZ (Uruguay) said that violence between Israelis and Palestinians had endangered the peace agreements. The United Nations should comply with its obligation to promote international peace and security. His delegation urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to restore the peace process. Both parties should put an end to illegal acts that had brought the process to a halt. The resolution, however, did prejudge issues that would need to be discussed during a conference of High Contracting Parties. Because of that, his delegation entered a formal reservation, but had voted in favour of it.

NASTE CALOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said that, due to a mistake by the Secretariat, his delegation had been prevented from voting. He would have voted in favour of the draft.

NASER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, thanked all the States who had co-sponsored the resolution and who had voted for it in such an overwhelming majority. The resolutions of the United Nations were very important, especially those adopted by the tenth emergency special session. Today's resolution constituted a step forward because it contained the practical measure to convene a conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. His delegation looked forward to such a conference and to its important results.

(annex follows)

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ANNEX

Vote on Illegal Israeli Actions

The draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories (document A/ES- 10/L.5/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 2 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: 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, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstaining: Australia, Bahamas, Cameroon, Romania, Swaziland.

Absent: Albania, Belize, Chad, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

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For information media. Not an official record.