General Assembly, Wrapping Up Annual Consideration of Question of Palestine, Situation in Middle East, Adopts Six Resolutions by Recorded Vote

26 November 2013
GA/11460

General Assembly, Wrapping Up Annual Consideration of Question of Palestine, Situation in Middle East, Adopts Six Resolutions by Recorded Vote

26 November 2013
General Assembly
GA/11460
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Plenary

58th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly, Wrapping Up Annual Consideration of Question of Palestine,

Situation in Middle East, Adopts Six Resolutions by Recorded Vote

Sending a strong message of support for the Middle East peace process, albeit with the traditionally divergent views on how to achieve its aims, the General Assembly today adopted six draft resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East overall.

As the Assembly wrapped up the discussion begun yesterday on the Palestinian question, a member of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, echoing the sentiment of many delegations, heralded the two-State solution as the “best chance for a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel”.  To that end, he called on Israel to show good faith and to make the best use of current negotiations.

The Assembly then adopted four resolutions by recorded vote under that agenda item.  By the first, “L.12”, the Assembly proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to organize activities around that observance, in cooperation with Governments, the United Nations system, intergovernmental organisations and civil society. 

That text was adopted by recorded vote of 110 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.

By a recorded vote of 108 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions, the Assembly adopted “L.13” by which it requested the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine, and asked the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation with the Division of United Nations bodies in connection with programme components addressing various aspects of the question of Palestine.

Under draft “L.14”, the Assembly encouraged the Department of Public Information’s programme on the Question of Palestine to formulate ways for the media and civil society representatives to engage in open and positive discussions to explore means for encouraging people-to-people dialogue and promoting peace and mutual understanding in the region.  It was adopted by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).

According to the draft resolution on the peaceful settlement of the Question of Palestine, “L.15”, the Assembly, among other things, called for the timely convening of an international conference in Moscow, as envisioned by the Security Council in resolution 1850 (2008), for the advancement and acceleration of the resumed peace process.  The draft was adopted by recorded vote of 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga).

When the Assembly turned to the situation in the Middle East, the representative of Egypt expressed concern about recent developments in negotiations.  Palestinians, he said, had been put in an arduous situation due to measures taken by Israel, including continued settlement expansion.  He then introduced two draft texts, both of which were adopted by recorded vote.

The first, “L.16”, on Jerusalem, stated that all legal and administrative measures taken by Israel to change the legal status of East Jerusalem were null and void, he explained.  The draft also, among other things, called for a halt to settlement construction and any attempts to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  It was adopted by recorded vote with 162 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).

A resolution on the Syrian Golan, “L.17”, included a call for Israel to withdraw from the territory to 1967 borders, he said, adding that peace, stability and co-existence would not be achieved until Palestinians recovered their rights, he said.  The illegal measures of the occupying Power were halted, he said, hoping the draft texts would be supported.  The Assembly adopted that text by a recorded vote of 112 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 58 abstentions.

Delivering statements during the debate on the Question of Palestine were the representatives of Japan, Venezuela, Malaysia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Explaining their position on action on those draft resolutions were the representatives of Israel, United States, Singapore, Lithuania, and Cyprus.

Speaking during the debate on the Situation in the Middle East were the representatives of China, Oman, Maldives, Iran, Russian Federation and Malaysia.

Explaining their position on action on those draft resolutions was the representative of Argentina, also on behalf of Brazil.  The representative of the European Uniondelegation also spoke in explanation of vote.

The representative of Syria and the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine delivered statements following the votes.

Exercising the right of reply were the representatives of Israel, Syria and Iran.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 4 December to consider the implementation of United Nations resolutions and the revitalization of its work.

Background

The General Assembly met today to conclude its debate on the question of Palestine.  For background, please see Press Release GA/11459 of 25 November 2013.  It was also expected to convene a debate on the situation in the Middle East, for which it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/68/371), as well as draft resolutions A/68/L.16 and A/68/L.17.

Question of Palestine

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan) said that in light of the need for Palestinians to create a viable economy, Japan had accelerated its assistance for their development with two concrete initiatives aimed at mobilizing private-sector investment.  The first, “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity”, with its flagship project “ Jericho Agro-Investment Park” would transform an area of the Jordan Valley into productive land, thereby facilitating the export of agricultural products, with an estimated impact of more than $40 million per year and the creation of 7,000 new jobs. 

Additionally, he said, the Japanese, to supply electricity to the Agro-Industrial Park, had begun construction — with an outlay of $1 million — of an electrical substation.  It had also developed management capacity for the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zone Authority, for which Japan would disperse $400,000.  The second Japanese initiative, the “Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development”, was aimed at mobilizing and sharing East Asian economic development experiences and resources for Palestinian development.  In December, Japan would host a business promotion meeting in Tokyo to strengthen private-sector business relations with Palestine.

SAMUEL MONCADA ( Venezuela) said the historic moment of the State of Palestine’s recent vote in the General Assembly was a victory on the road to the full recognition of its statehood.  Generations of Palestinians had asked only for their rights to their land.  Instead, walls had been erected and activities that halted daily services were among the actions taken by the occupying Power, in violation of human rights and outside the bounds of international law.  The Palestinian people had a right to self-determination, and Venezuela fully supported direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel.  A negotiated solution was a decisive factor for peace in the Middle East. 

RAJA REZA RAJA ZAIB SHAH ( Malaysia) said the question of Palestine remained a major foreign policy issue in the Asia-Pacific region, despite its geographical distance from the Middle East.  In that regard, his delegation was pleased with the convening of the United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, in Beijing in June and it hoped such events would becoming a frequent fixture in his region’s calendar.  He was heartened to see such strong support for the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People from Latin American States, many of which had long expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people.  Perhaps what made the question of Palestine so special was that it touched the hearts of people around the world, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.  Reiterating his country’s strong support to the Palestinian cause, he said it would continue working with the international community to bring justice for Palestine, as it had had for the past 40 years.

LEVENT ELER ( Turkey) said the absence of an immediate and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue made prospects for regional peace, cooperation and welfare a “distant dream”.  He noted the lack of progress four months into the resumption of direct negotiations, as well as continued settlement activity; yet another announcement for new settlements was made over the weekend.  The parties should act in good faith and avoid such provocative actions.  Imprisoned Palestinians, including children and women, was also a concern, as was the Gaza blockade.  Turkey had taken urgent action to alleviate some emerging vital shortages, including through financial assistance for fuel for generators used in such services as health, water and sanitation in Gaza.  As the Chair of the Working Group of the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he called on the international community to enhance support to the Agency. 

ABDULMOHSEN ALYAS ( Saudi Arabia) said a solution must be found to the problem that threatened peace in the Middle East and the entire world.  Of grave concern were the human rights violations and a policy of illegal settlements, which spread “like a cancer” in the region, including with the recent announcement by the occupying authorities of additional settlement construction.  Saudi Arabia emphatically condemned the continued aggression of the occupying Power against Palestinians.  Calling for the lifting of the Gaza blockade, he stressed the importance for the international community to take action to address those and other injustices committed against the Palestinian people.

Situation in Middle East

MOOTAZ A. KHALIL ( Egypt) introduced draft resolutions on Jerusalem (document A/68/L.16) and on the Syrian Golan (document A/68/L.17).  Concerned about recent developments in the negotiations, he said Palestinians had been put in an arduous situation due to measures taken by Israel, including continued settlement expansion.

The first draft text, “L.16”, stated that all illegal and administrative measures taken by Israel to change the legal status of East Jerusalem were null and void, he said.  The draft text also stated, among other things, that settlement construction must halt as should any attempts to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  The second draft resolution, “L.17”, included a call for Israel to withdraw from the occupied Syrian Golan to the 1967 borders.

He said that peace, stability and co-existence would not be achieved until Palestinians recovered their rights and the illegal measures of the occupying Power were halted.  He hoped the draft resolutions would be supported.

FARDAN FAUZAN NURFAIZI, Member of the House of Representatives of Indonesia, said that despite support of States and other international actors in the Palestinian cause, Palestinians were still denied their right to establish an independent and sovereign State.  The two-State solution was the best chance for a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel.  To that end, he called on Israel to show good faith and make best use of current negotiations to achieve that goal.  However, time and again Israel had betrayed the trust of the international community by committing acts that undermined peace efforts, such as its settlement policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which was illegal and limited the viability of an independent Palestinian State.

In that regard, he called on all States to avoid involvement in settlement activities and to prohibit their people and businesses from doing so.  The ongoing construction of the separation wall also violated international law, and he drew particular attention to Israel’s detention of hundreds of Palestinian children, as reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who suffered systematic, widespread and institutionalized ill-treatment.  Its continued blockade of Gaza had led to further deterioration of the socio-economic situation.  The Security Council must compel Israel to stop its illegal actions and to treat Palestine as an equal partner in negotiations, and Israel must withdraw from the Syrian Golan.

LIU JIEYI ( China) said the turbulent situation in the region required the international community’s focus on promoting peace.  Differences should be settled through political dialogue; China opposed foreign intervention.  Measures should be adopted to overcome current challenges, accompanied by economic assistance in support of peace and development.  His delegation was pleased with the resumption of talks and hoped substantive progress would ensue.  China would also continue to support the Palestinian people in establishment of their State and its admission to United Nations bodies and other international organizations.  China had supported the peace process and would continue to do so.  Gravely concerned about the situation in Syria, it believed that a political solution was the only way to end the violence.  The second Geneva conference was a chance to do so. 

BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said the Palestinians were a people whose land had been completely occupied and who had been expelled from their homes.  While they had accepted relinquishing a part of Palestine, the occupying Power thought that “stealing” 87 per cent of historic Palestine caused no harm to its people.  That request amounted to “unqualified insolence”.  He cited Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the need for Israel to respect them.  It had not done so and, instead, had escalated its aggressive practices in violation of international law, including with the expansion of settlements and the annexation of Palestinian Territory.  That prevented the establishment of a Palestinian State and violated the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination.  Further, it sowed discord in the region.  This was Israel’s wish and the wish of its former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who had said in 1973 “we will make a pastrami sandwich of them”.

Israel’s intransigence and the support it had by certain countries, he said, should not paralyze the United Nations in carrying out its duties.  It was a “bitter reality” that a large part of the Syrian Golan had been occupied by Israel for more than 45 years, despite the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 497 (1981).  Israel must deal with that occupation, which affected all aspects of life, in clear violation of international law.  It was incomprehensible that the Israelis would continue the settlement campaign in Golan.  Furthermore, Israel’s protection of illegal armed groups and its separation forces in the Golan made it responsible for the consequences.  Israel was playing with fire, with “explosive consequences” for the region.  Those who assisted terrorists should be treated as terrorists.  Global peace would only be achieved with the withdrawal by Israel of its people to the pre-1967 borders, as well as compliance with all relevant United Nations resolutions.  Syria invited Member States to vote for the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan as a show of support for international law.

LYUTHA AL-MUGHAIRY (Oman) said that while this year marked the thirty-sixth anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and the sixty-sixth of the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181(1947) on the division of the land of Palestine into two States, Palestinians continued to be deprived of exercising their legitimate rights to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on their own land, leading to the suffering of more than 4 million Palestinian refugees.  She urged the international community to protect them from the inhuman, illegal and arbitrary acts of successive Israeli Governments.  Additionally, it must send a clear message to Israel to cease those practices, in particular, the embargo on the Gaza strip; he condemned the attack on the freedom convoy.  The negotiations must be genuine and lead to security and stability on the basis and principles of land for peace, Security Council resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative.

MIDHFA NAEEM ( Maldives), concerning the situation in the Middle East, said that the crucial prerequisite for democracy was peace and stability.  The bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon reminded the international community that the conflict in Syria — and its cross-border violence — affected the wider region.  Additionally, the resurgence of transnational terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida, played a role in dispersing more than 2 million refugees, and the number of internally displaced was growing.  The Maldives urged the international community to ensure adequate assistance to those refugees and to address reports of arbitrary violence and instances of involuntary detention committed against them. 

Regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territory, she said the General Assembly’s warnings and advice had gone unheeded.  A lasting and comprehensive peace could only be achieved through the protection of territorial integrity and the withdrawal of the occupation from the sovereign territories.  Finally, the Maldives commended the efforts made in Geneva for the easing of sanctions against Iran, as those measures were a clear threat to human rights in that country and have negatively impacted a burgeoning economy.  Despite that handicap, Iran had made progress in such areas as women’s education, health, youth development and access to basic services.  With the election of President Hassan Rouhani, there were “positive signs of dynamism in the country’s civil and political life”, he said, echoing the sentiment of the Secretary-General. 

MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said Israel’s policies and practices continued to violate fundamental human rights and the dignity of the Palestinian people and other Arabs living under its occupation.  Condemning actions including the 17-year long Gaza blockade and the new announcement of accelerated settlement construction, Iran believed that Israeli criminal acts against Palestinians and other peoples in the region were the gravest current threat to regional and international peace and security.  A durable peace required justice; an end to discrimination; a halt to the occupation in Palestine, Syrian and Lebanese territories; the return of all Palestinian refugees; and the establishment of a democratic mechanism through which all inhabitants of Palestine and Palestinians driven out of their homeland would have the possibility to determine their future.  Iran was alarmed by the terrorist attacks against its Embassy in Beirut and the rise in extremism and violence in the region.  Regarding the Syrian situation, he said strengthening a peaceful political process was the way out of the crisis. 

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said a dangerous recent trend had demonstrated that dealing with crises by using force was not the answer.  The complex current situation required that the Quartet step up its role as the mechanism to accompany the Middle East peace process.  No solution would be found with the isolation of Gaza, he added.  Palestine had gained status last year as a non-Member observer State.  Now the peace process must move ahead, using inclusive dialogue instead of isolation.  Welcoming the release of prisoners, he emphasized that Israeli settlement activity must also cease immediately.  With the dividing wall and blockades, there was a lack of fairness against the Palestinians.  The dangerous status quo could not continue.  For productive dialogue, the Arab-Israeli plan must be supported to promote stability in the entire region and the world as a whole.  The Russian Federation supported the aspirations of the people of the Middle East in striving for freedom and self-determination.

Mr. RAJA ZAIB SHAH (Malaysia), speaking on Palestine, said it was not enough to say that settlements were unlawful and illegitimate, since that had already been declared as such by several United Nations bodies.  Instead, responsible Member States should recognize the urgent need to implement policies that would delegitimize the Israeli occupation, including through the framework of regional organisations and groupings.  The true nature of Israel’s illegal acts had become even more evident in East Jerusalem.  He pointed, in particular, to “Judaization” measures effectively evicting Palestinians from the city, and he called for an end to those illegal acts.  Concerning the situation in Syria, he said it was high time for all parties inside and outside the country to come together and work towards a political solution that was Syrian-led and inclusive.  He also called for an immediate and full withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Syrian Golan, noting that its construction and expansion of illegal settlements in the area constituted a flagrant violation of international law. 

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly then took action on the following draft resolutions: the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/68/L.12); Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (document A/68/L.13); Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (document A/68/L.14); and on the Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine (document A/68/L.15).

Speaking before the vote, the representative of Israel said that in a few minutes, the Assembly would vote on a series of resolutions that served no purpose but to demonize his country.  Israel would not take part in the vote.  Many countries faced dire situations at home along with the financial crises.  Every year, the United Nations spent $6 million on the Committee, the Division and the Department of Public Information programme.  There were no shortcuts or quick fixes, he added.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution, as orally revised, on the Palestinian Rights Committee, “L.12”, by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.

The draft resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, “L.13”, was then adopted, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 108 in favour to 7 against ( Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) with 59 abstentions.

Next, the Assembly adopted, as orally revised, the draft text on the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, “L.14”, by a recorded vote with 163 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).

By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) with 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga), the Assembly adopted “L.15”, as orally revised, on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.

Speaking after the votes, the representative of United States said that his country remained deeply troubled by the repetitive and disproportionate number of one-sided Assembly resolutions condemning Israel.  Only four other resolutions had been critical of other Member States.  All parties to the tragic conflict had a responsibility for ending it, and the United States was disappointed that the Assembly continued to single out Israel.  The United States urged a halt to one-sided actions that would disrupt or distract from the process.  Continued support for biased resolutions complicated efforts to reach a just and lasting peace.  Furthermore, the systematic bias and distortion of the conflict conveyed by the resolutions damaged United Nations’ credibility.

Of particular concern, he said, were United Nations resolutions on the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Committee on Palestinian Rights and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, as those renewed mandates for ineffective United Nations bodies and wasted valuable resources.  All Member States should evaluate the effectiveness of supporting and funding them.  There was no contradiction between support for Israel and support for the Palestinian people, and efforts must be redoubled to build the trust and confidence necessary for a lasting agreement, he added.

The representative of Singapore said that his country had voted in favour of “L.12” on the understanding that the reference in operative paragraph 2 to the achievement of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders should be interpreted in the same manner as set out in operative paragraph 1 of “L.15”, namely, within recognised pre-1967 borders.

The representative of Lithuania , speaking on behalf of the European Union, congratulated the Palestinian delegation for successful outcomes on several resolutions.  The Union consolidated its votes on those resolutions, but it wished to put on record that it considered any reference to the words “Palestinian Government” in any resolutions of the sixty-eighth session referred to the Palestinian Authority.  The Union’s further point involved the lack of an agreed definition on issues of displacement.

The representative of Cyprus, in explanation of “L.12”, reaffirmed support for the efforts of both Israelis and Palestinians to reach a comprehensive settlement.  Peace talks were the only way to reach a viable solution.  In that regard, he was concerned at unilateral initiatives that could affect the negotiations and the prospects for an agreement.

Next, the draft text on Jerusalem, “L.16”, was adopted, as orally revised, by recorded vote of 162 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution “L.17”, as orally revised, on the Syrian Golan, by a recorded vote of 112 in favour to 6 against ( Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Palau, United States) with 58 abstentions.

Explaining their votes, the representative of Argentina, speaking also on behalf of Brazil, said he and his colleague had voted in favour of “L.17” as they supported the position of the United Nations Charter on the use of force.  The two delegations also highlighted the importance of finding a solution to the Syrian Golan in line with relevant Security Council resolutions.

Right of Reply

Exercising the right of reply, the representative of Israel noted that many countries had abstained from voting on issues including the violence and the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  The Syrian delegate was trying to rewrite history.  Iran’s representative had noted that the greatest obstacle to safety was the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but the biggest obstacle to world security was really Iran, which was the architect of terrorism and provided weapons to Hamas and other groups.  The way to peace in the Middle East was not possible by supporting baseless resolutions such as those before the Assembly.

Also exercising the right to reply, Syria’s delegate said the statements made by Israel’s representative needed to be addressed, especially the suggestions that what was happening in the General Assembly was not a part of history.  Israel’s almost 70-year-long history was fraught with aggression.  Peacekeepers in the Golan Heights were exposed to extreme danger posed by extremist groups in the area.  Israel had strong support from a powerful State, which had led to the expansion of settlements and violent flare-ups.  In short, Israel lived in a fictional world, he said.

The representative of Iran, also exercising the right of reply, said that Israel had committed heinous crimes against Palestinians, including construction of illegal settlements and an apartheid wall, and the Gaza blockade.  Those were the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the regime’s persistent defiance of human rights principles and the basic norm of decency.  The Israeli regime, as a source of terrorism, continued to perpetrate its crimes with a sense of impunity. 

He called on the international community, including the United Nations, to take measures to prevent further heinous acts.  The proposed nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was challenged by Israel’s nuclear weapon programme.  Peace and stability could not be achieved when Israel failed to comply with international norms and principles.  To establish such a zone in the Middle East, the international community must insist that Israel accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and place all its weapons under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

The representative of Israel said that the words of the Syrian and Iranian delegates were “upside down”.  The Syrian delegate was revising history.  As for the lecture on human rights by Iran’s delegate, he said Iran could instead lecture on the “abcs of terrorism”.  In Iran, women lacked rights and elections were a sham, whereas Israel was a thriving democracy.  “We’re not perfect,” he said, but it would not be lectured by Iran.  Returning to Syria’s allegations of meddling in the areas of operation of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), he said the situation in Syria should be discussed at length.

Next, Syria’s delegate said that what was stated in the Assembly was not a lecture.  When discussing the Israeli violation of human rights, speakers based information on facts documented in United Nations reports.  Noting the levity with which Israel’s delegate addressed the voting results on the six newly adopted draft resolutions in the United Nations, he said that delegate must remember that the United Nations was involved in Israel’s establishment.

In a further right of reply, Iran’s representative said the bloody hands of the Israeli regime had brought violence to the region and was a sponsor of terrorism.  Raising baseless allegations against Iran would not detract from its long list of crimes, including the assassination of an Iranian scientist.  Democracy was not possible in an occupied land, he said.

Additional Statements

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, said he appreciated the handling of the deliberations and thanked all the countries that had sponsored and co-sponsored the draft resolutions and all others that had supported them.  The number of overall votes had increased from past years, he said.  “We trust the wisdom of the international community in voting in a positive way on these resolutions,” he said, adding, “We will continue this march to put an end to the occupation that started in 1967 so we can create the reality of a two State solution”.

He disagreed with delegates suggesting that the resolutions did not serve a purpose.  The international community must do its job to uphold international law.  It was arrogant and insulting to be told that members of the Assembly were voting as sheep would.  That was the position of a sore loser.  One delegate indicated that those resolutions were one-sided and had singled out Israel.   Israel should honour and respect the implementation of the resolutions, he said.  The texts were not eroding the credibility of the United Nations; what was eroding that credibility was the lack of their implementation.  “In Palestine, we will never lose hope for what the United Nations is and what it stands for,” he said.

Syria’s delegate said he deeply appreciated the General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution on the Syrian Golan.  He thanked the sponsors of the text and those who had voted in its favour. 

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