Second Committee Approves Text Demanding That Israel Stop Exploiting, Depleting, Endangering Natural Resources in Occupied Arab Lands

12 November 2009
GA/EF/3268

Second Committee Approves Text Demanding That Israel Stop Exploiting, Depleting, Endangering Natural Resources in Occupied Arab Lands

12 November 2009
General Assembly
GA/EF/3268
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Second Committee

34th Meeting (PM)


Second Committee Approves Text Demanding That Israel Stop Exploiting,


Depleting, Endangering Natural Resources in Occupied Arab Lands


Draft on Bridging Digital Divide, Building Connectivity in Eurasia Also Passed


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved two draft resolutions today, including a text that would have the General Assembly demand that Israel stop exploiting, damaging, depleting or endangering the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan.


By other terms of that text -– approved, as orally corrected, by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Panama) -– the Assembly would call upon Israel to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, with respect to altering the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  (See Annex for details of voting.)


The Assembly would, by further terms, call on Israel to stop all actions that harmed the environment, including the dumping of waste materials in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, and to stop destroying vital infrastructure, including water pipelines and sewage networks.  It would also stress that the wall being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, violated international law and seriously deprived the Palestinian people of their natural resources.  The Assembly would call on Israel to comply with the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the wall.


In a general statement following the action, the Permanent Observer for Palestine said the text sent a clear message that the international community stood with the Palestinians, whose rights and resources had been stolen, and showed overwhelming support for international law and for parity of standards for everyone.  The issue was critically important to the Palestinians, especially as they continued to suffer under the occupation that had brought them poverty and misery.  The draft resolution provided the legal and moral protective framework to safeguard the rights of the Palestinian people to their own resources, and claims that it was irrelevant were an affront to the international community.


On the other hand, Israel’s representative said the text was the result of politicized objectives, rather than professional conduct, and reflected a pattern that failed to address all side equitably.  It ignored the bilateral cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on civic issues and numerous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  Furthermore, it was part of an effort to institutionalize an anti-Israel narrative within the United Nations.  The draft resolution did not serve the interests of the Palestinians or anyone seeking a peaceful solution in the Middle East.


The Committee went on to approve, without a vote, a draft resolution on building connectivity through the Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway, by which the Assembly would stress the importance of stronger and continued cooperation among all stakeholders to build and run information infrastructures to bridge the Eurasian region’s digital divide and build connectivity.  The Assembly would also recognize the potential of information and communication technologies in providing solutions to development challenges.


Earlier in the meeting, the Committee heard the introduction of draft resolutions on sustainable development, including three introduced by the representative of the Sudan (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China) and one introduced by Bolivia’s delegate.


Also speaking today were representatives of the Comoros, Libya, Egypt and Azerbaijan.


The Committee will meet again on Tuesday, 17 November, to take action on outstanding draft resolutions.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on draft resolutions relating to permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources; and building connectivity through the Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


The representative of Bolivia introduced a draft resolution titled “Harmony with Mother Earth” (document A/C.2/64/L.24), which is intended to complement and deepen the concept of sustainable development through debates and the development of proposals at the intergovernmental level.  No other items on the General Assembly’s agenda address directly the “holistic, global and integrated relationship among human beings and the earth system as a whole”, the delegate said , calling for its urgent inclusion.


The representative of the Sudan introduced, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, three texts titled, respectively, “United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification” (document A/C.2/64/L.31); “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its twenty-fifth session” (document A/C.2/L.30); and “Implementation of the Outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)” (document A/C.2/64/L.32).


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee then proceeded to take action on two draft resolutions.  It first took up the text on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/64/L.12).


Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of Israel expressed disappointment with the subject at hand, saying the text was the result of politicized objectives, rather than professional conduct.  It ignored fruitful and intensive bilateral cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on civic issues, including the environment, and the numerous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that had already conferred jurisdiction on those issues to the Palestinians.


He said the Committee’s annual approval of the draft resolution was not productive for the parties concerned, adding that those seeking to address concerns pertaining to the issue should do so in the context of the joint working group on the ground.  Today’s action reflected a pattern that failed to address all sides equitably, and was part of an effort to institutionalize an anti-Israel narrative within the United Nations.  It did not serve the interests of the Palestinians or anyone who sought a peaceful resolution in the Middle East.


The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Panama).  (See Annex for voting details.)


Following the action, the Permanent Observer for Palestine thanked those Member States that had voted in favour of the draft resolution and emphasized that the issue was one of critical importance to the Palestinians, especially during the present hard times as they continued to suffer under the occupation that had brought them poverty and misery.  The text sent a clear message to the Palestinian people, whose rights and resources were being stolen, that the international community stood with them.


Furthermore, the Committee’s approval of the text demonstrated overwhelming support for international law and for parity of standards for everyone, he said.  It was crucial to safeguard the rights of the Palestinian people to their own resources, and the draft resolution provided the legal and moral protective framework to do so.  Claiming that the resolution was irrelevant was an affront to the international community.  The favourable vote constituted a step towards establishing justice and peace.


Taking up the draft resolution titled “Building connectivity through the Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway (document A/C.2/64/L.12), the Committee then approved it without a vote, as orally amended.


ANNEX


Vote on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources


The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/64/L.12) was approved by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 9 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Australia, Canada, Fiji, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Panama.


Absent:  Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.