Traditional Voting Pattern Reflected in General Assembly’s Adoption of Drafts on Question of Palestine, Broader Middle East Issues

GA/11732
24 November 2015
Seventieth Session, 63rd & 64th Meetings (AM & PM)

Traditional Voting Pattern Reflected in General Assembly’s Adoption of Drafts on Question of Palestine, Broader Middle East Issues

The General Assembly today adopted six resolutions on Palestinian and Middle East issues, as diverse as the Syrian Golan and the United Nations special information programme on the question of Palestine, all by recorded votes, exposing divisions in the world body.

A resolution on Jerusalem (document A/70/L.14) called for respect for the historic status quo at the city’s holy places, including Haram al-Sharif, and urged all sides to defuse tensions and halt provocations and violence at those sites.  The text received 153 votes in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Toga, Tonga).

A resolution on the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights (document A/70/L.11) requesting the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued to effectively carry out its programme of work proved less popular, garnering 99 votes in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions.

Speaking after all six votes, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine expressed gratitude for the strong message from the General Assembly, which he said reflected a principled position and signalled to the Palestinian people that the international community was not abandoning them, but was standing with them in their continual struggle to achieve the independent State of Palestine and save the two-State solution.

The representative of Israel said that the resolutions failed to promote dialogue and were a wasteful use of the Organization’s budget.  The Secretariat’s promotional activities took into account only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and supporting the resolutions would make peace harder to achieve.  The United States was similarly troubled by repetitive and one-sided Assembly resolutions designed to condemn Israel, said its representative, asserting that the practice damaged prospects for peace by undermining trust between the parties.

Before taking action on the drafts, the Assembly concluded its debate on the question of Palestine.  With efforts to resolve conflict by establishing two States remaining at an impasse, the parties were living side-by-side in fear, anger and distress, said the representative of Norway, who also noted that donors could not compensate for unresolved economic issues between the parties.  Also of the view that a viable economy underpinned peace, Japan’s delegate told the Assembly that it had contributed $1.6 billion for Palestinian development.

When the Assembly took up the situation in the Middle East, the representative of Maldives noted that the Special Rapporteur had, in his report, emphasized that Israeli settlement policies and practices remained central to most human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  That topic was also addressed by the representative of Syria, who said that it was not “routine” to build settlements, violate Christian and Muslim holy sites or launch aggression that shattered global peace and security.

Delivering general statements on the question of Palestine were representatives of Argentina, Qatar, China, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Turkey, Zambia, Morocco, South Africa and the Maldives.

Speaking in explanation of votes on that item were representatives of Singapore, Syria, Argentina and the European Union.

Introducing the resolutions on the situation in the Middle East was the representative of Egypt.  Delivering general statements were representatives of the Russian Federation, Oman, Syria, Maldives and Kazakhstan.

Speaking in explanation of votes on that item were representatives of Syria and Argentina.

The representatives of Israel, Syria, Cuba and Nicaragua spoke in exercise of the right to reply.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 30 November, to take up the agenda item of “the situation in Afghanistan”.

General Statements — Question of Palestine

MATEO ESTREME (Argentina) expressed his country’s support for the two-State solution with a Palestinian State within the June 1967 borders.  That was a fair solution for Palestinian refugees and Israel, with secure and internationally recognized borders.  He was discouraged by the recurring cycles of violence, the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the slow pace of reconstruction.  Argentina strongly condemned Hamas’ firing of rockets and rejected the acts of violence that had been committed by Palestinians in October.  The demolition of homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem and the unprecedented ban of Palestinians from the Old City were unacceptable.  Any unilateral attempt to change the Old City was controversial and inflammatory, and was turning the conflict into a religious one.  Continuing with the status quo would only make a definite settlement more difficult.  Israeli seizure of Palestinian land was illegal.  The Security Council had not lived up to obligations to achieve a permanent solution; it should salvage the two-State solution.

ABDULRAHMAN YAAQOB Y.A. AL-HAMADI (Qatar), associating with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that after adoption of the General Assembly resolution granting the State of Palestine Observer status, the international community had stressed the need for a two-State solution with a viable, independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.  That was a road map for peace and promoted the return of Palestinian refugees and an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab land.  Hope had faded with the illegal practices against civilians, extreme atrocities committed by settlers with impunity and the violation of the sanctity of holy sites.  It was high time to put an end to the siege of Gaza and list the blockade to enable reconstruction.  Binding, time-bound Security Council resolutions were needed to end the occupation.  Qatar underlined solidarity for the just cause of the Palestinian people to have their State.

LIU JIEYI (China) said that the question of Palestine had always been at the core of Middle East issues.  The United Nations had discussed it for decades without any prospect of a solution.  The security situation was deteriorating, and that brought to the fore the urgency of settling the Palestinian question.  A comprehensive solution would serve the interest of every party.  The international community should urge Palestinians and Israelis to take immediate measures to ease the tense situation; Israel being the more powerful side should take action first.  China opposed all forms of terrorism and supported the actions of the international community in accordance with the Charter’s principles and other norms governing international relations.  Combating terrorism required tackling both symptoms and root causes. 

AHMAD ABDUL RAHMAN MAHMOUD (United Arab Emirates) condemned all provocative Israeli policies as well as its repeated violations in flagrant breach of international law and international humanitarian law, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and relevant resolutions.  He urged the international community to exert its best efforts to save the peace process and take all necessary measures to stop settlers from invading the Al-Aqsa mosque.  Furthermore, he demanded international protection for the Palestinian people, based on the Fourth Geneva Convention and its protocols, and stressed the leading role of the Security Council, including the adoption of a resolution that would put in place mechanisms to guarantee the protection and safety of Palestinian civilians.  He called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces to the 4 June 1967 lines and the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the two-State solution, international law, the Charter, the principle of land for peace, the road map, Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative.

RAJA REZA RAJA ZAIB SHAH (Malaysia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, said a sovereign and independent Palestinian State within pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital should be the international community’s goal.  The current wave of violence must cease; violence by Israeli settlers, the detention of Palestinians, especially children, as well as the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza were very worrying.  Malaysia demanded the lifting of the Gaza blockade, which was a collective punishment.  Israeli raids on schools and hospitals were a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and his country urged all parties to respect the sanctity of holy sites.  It also condemned the expansion of Israeli settlements.  International protection for Palestine should be considered.  In sum, Malaysia stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway) said that efforts to resolve conflict by establishing two States remained at an impasse.  Instead, the parties were living side-by-side in fear, anger and distress.  The current situation was unsustainable.  Welcoming efforts to promote calm and prevent any actions that exacerbated tensions, he said it was imperative to continue the security coordination between Israelis and Palestinians.  Calling for a return to a credible political process, he said that no amount of frustration justified violence.  On 30 September, Norway had chaired a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.  While encouraging donors to continue their efforts, they could not compensate for unresolved economic issues between the parties.  Achieving the full potential of the Palestinian State, including a sustainable economy, required a political resolution of the conflict.  The international community needed to engage in a concerted manner to bring that about.

Y. HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said that historical injustice, reinforced by daily illegal practices of Israel on the ground, undermined the very belief in the possibility of a peaceful coexistence.  The Palestinians’ hopes for peace had been dashed countless times, he said, emphasizing that the status quo was not sustainable and that settlement activities continued with impunity.  The situation in Gaza also remained worrying, and restrictions on access, movement and economic activities slowed reconstruction.  The current situation was a sombre reflection of what would happen if the peace protest was lost.  In that vein, the international community must uphold its responsibility and renew its engagement to reach a negotiated political settlement based on a two-State solution in accordance with international law.  He urged the Security Council to set a timeframe and parameters for peace negotiations and assume its responsibility towards establishing peace.

YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan) said that, regarding the question of Palestine, the adoption of resolutions by the General Assembly was important but not enough because tangible progress on the ground was needed.  Japan deeply deplored that Israel had recently approved the construction of 454 settlement units in East Jerusalem.  Also, it must exercise its law enforcement with proportionate measures and refrain from collective punishment, including home demolitions.  The international community could make a positive difference in resuming peace talks aimed at achieving the two-State solution.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had visited the region in January, calling on both leaders to resume talks.  Japan also had contributed $1.6 billion for Palestinian development, of the view that a viable economy underpinned peace.  Regarding Syria, Japan had extended $1.1 billion in aid to life-saving relief as well as to basic services such as education.  He reiterated Japan’s position that there were no military solutions to the Syrian crisis.  Japan would continue to work with the United Nations Special Envoy and others towards a political solution.

CHRISTINE KALAMWINA (Zambia) said that his country, as a former colony, was a strong advocate for peace-building processes and the co-existence of countries engaged in discord and conflict with their neighbouring States.  The raising of the flags of Observer States at the United Nations was, to a large extent, indicative of the international community’s support of the need for Palestine’s self-determination and that of others.  All must remain aware of the obligation for continued dialogue between Palestine and Israel.  Zambia reaffirmed its recognition of the Palestinian Authority as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination and their inalienable right to establish a homeland of their own.  Indeed, the Palestinian people had a right to self-determination and independence, on the basis of Security Council resolution 242 (1967).  Zambia reaffirmed its support for a two-State solution, which would let the peoples of the two States live side-by-side in harmony and end the atrocities endured by innocent civilians.   Only recognition of Palestine as an independent State would resolve the conflict.

MOHAMMED ATLASSI (Morocco) said that his country, an active participant in pursuit of a settlement, followed with regret the recent escalation.  Having repeatedly called for protecting East Jerusalem from measures aimed at changing its identity and its religious and cultural character, Morocco stood in solidarity with its Palestinian brethren.  Islamic holy sites must be protected in order to maintain the heritage of Jerusalem and enable it to be a symbol of tolerance.  There was also a need to support the efforts of the Palestinian leadership.  He called on the international community to fulfil its legal and ethical responsibilities.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) called on the international community to take urgent action to compel the occupying Power to cease its settlement campaign.  He urged the occupying Power to abide by all its international humanitarian law obligations, as well as United Nations resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.  South Africa remained strongly critical of the Israeli Government’s continuing defiance, which complicated any possible resumption of substantial negotiations.  The only way to achieve peace was through creating an environment for a two-State solution, where Israel existed side by side in peace with a Palestinian State.  In the meantime, deliberations and measures on ensuring the protection of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territory and the retention of the character of the holy sites remained paramount.  

AHMED SAREER (Maldives), urging the Council to take firm measures necessary to end the brutal practices which deprived the people of Palestine of their inalienable rights, said that each year, thousands of Israeli settlers were moving into the Occupied Territory illegally.  The Secretary-General’s report highlighted the displacement of more than half a million Palestinians and the fact that not a single home that had been destroyed had been rebuilt, owing to Israel’s blockade and import restrictions.  Maldives reaffirmed its position that sustainable peace could be achieved only through the two-State solution, and called for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from all territories it had occupied for decades.

Situation in the Middle East

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), introducing draft resolutions A/70/L.14 and A/70/L.17, said that despite promoting human rights around the world, the international community could not stop occupation.  General Assembly draft resolution “L.14”, under its agenda item 37 on the situation in the Middle East, stressed United Nations resolutions nullifying all attempts by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem.  It also called for the ending of repeated aggression against the Al-Aqsa mosque.  Resolution “L.17” on the Syrian Golan stressed deep concern over Israel’s failure to withdraw from that territory.  The Geneva Conventions, among others, should be observed and Israel should withdraw from all Arab and Palestinian occupied territories.  All Member States should support the current draft resolutions. 

VLADIMIR K. SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said that the Middle East was seized by chaos.  The Islamic State and Al-Nusra were fighting for territory and sending roots into other States in the Middle East, and their deadly rhetoric was extending beyond the region.  A lot of time had gone by since the General Assembly had adopted resolution 253 on Syria, and the Vienna process had begun moving towards a solution of that conflict.  A new centre of tension, however, was affecting Israeli and Palestinian civilians; of key importance was the situation around the holy sites.  The international community must not lose sight of the situation in Gaza, he said, adding that uniting of Palestinian ranks under the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Arab Peace Initiative was crucial.  The Russian Federation would continue pushing for renewal of the processes in various multilateral forums.

LYUTHA S. AL-MUGHAIRY (Oman) said that 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, whose founding was intended to strengthen international peace and security and maintain the rights and dignity of humankind.  The question of Palestine remained unresolved, although that was one of most important issues before the Organization since its inception.  Her country had followed with great concern the intrusion of Israeli extremist groups into the Al-Aqsa mosque recently, which was a violation of numerous laws and resolutions of the Security Council.  She called on the international community through the United Nations —specifically, the Security Council — to assume its responsibility and ensure that Israel put an end to its practice and policies to alter the demographics.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said Israel had tried to present its occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories as a routine occurrence rather than what it really was — an issue of people succumbing to the yoke of occupation.  That, he added, was internationally rejected.  It was not “routine” to build settlements, violate Christian and Muslim holy sites or launch aggression that shattered global peace and security.  The international community should turn its words into action if it wanted to stop Israel.  The Palestinian and Syrian people were being subjected to blind Jewish hatred.  A statement by an Israeli soldier on 29 October to a Palestinian refugee camp, where he threatened to use tear gas on the camp’s residents until they all died, was a demonstration of that hatred.  Turning to the occupied Syrian Golan, he said the Syrian people were determined to regain their land where they were currently subjected to oppression, racial discrimination and arbitrary detention. He called on Member States to support the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan.

JEFFREY SALIM WAHEED (Maldives) said that, for 67 years, the Organization had failed Palestine and the Palestinian people, epitomizing the inability of the international community to work together to bring an end to the conflict.  In recent months, the violence in the Occupied Territory had increased dramatically.  The Special Rapporteur had, in his report, emphasized that Israeli settlement policies and practices remained central to most human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  Palestine’s neighbours were currently facing one of their biggest threats from the “so-called Islamic State”, whose acts of barbarity were inhumane and “un-Islamic”.  The international community had failed to take concrete actions to bring an end to that group’s violence.  After recent terrorist attacks, he called for a unified voice against that group to bring an end to the Syrian conflict and to the group’s recruitment and financing.  The conflict had spurred the world’s largest refugee crisis, taking a global dimension when thousands began flooding into Europe.  The first countries to have been affected by the crisis were Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which had been unable to handle the influx of refugees.  The international community’s failure to act had caused the matter to become a threat to the peace and security of those States.

AKAN RAKHMETULLIN (Kazakhstan) said that the current situation in the Middle East would stabilize only if the Palestinian issue was resolved.  Reaffirming that the two-State solution was the only viable option for a durable peace, he called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to demonstrate political responsibility and reach a historic agreement that met the legitimate aspirations of their peoples.  His country was undertaking various efforts to foster inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony and to counter the perception of Islam as a religion that justified violence.  His delegation believed that counter-terrorism mechanisms, including the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, should be legally binding.

Action on Drafts

The Assembly took up four draft resolutions under the agenda item “Question of Palestine”.

Speaking before the vote, the representative of Israel said that, currently, Israeli citizens were dying from terrorist attacks across her country.  Despite those horrific attacks, the Assembly had been silent.  The six resolutions before it failed to promote dialogue and were a wasteful use of the Organization’s budget.  They failed to address the rise of terrorism and ignored Hamas, which oppressed its own people.  The Palestinian leadership had failed to condemn terrorism committed by its own people and had rejected Israel’s peace proposals and calls for negotiation.

Israel, she went on, had reaffirmed its commitment to the status quo on Temple Mount out of a respect for freedom of religion.  However, that respect was not mutual.  The recent inclusion of the Western Wall as part of the al-Aqsa Mosque denied the link the Jewish people had with their holy sites.  If today’s resolutions were adopted, they would divert valuable financial resources to activities that sought to attack Israel.  The United Nations Secretariat’s promotional activities took into account only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Supporting the resolutions would make peace harder to achieve.

The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 102 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 57 abstentions, a resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/70/L.10).  By so doing, the Assembly requested the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, and to support the achievement without delay of an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 as well as the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

Next, the Assembly took up a draft resolution on the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights (document A/70/L.11), adopting it by a recorded vote of 99 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions.  That text requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued to effectively carry out its programme of work as detailed in relevant earlier resolutions.  It also requested the Division to continue monitoring developments relevant to the question of Palestine, and to organize international meetings and conferences in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, among other tasks.

The Assembly then turned to a draft resolution on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (document A/70/L.12).  Adopting it by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Nauru, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga) the resolution requested the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Palestinian Rights Committee, to continue its special information programme for 2016–2017.

Finally, the Assembly took up a draft resolution on Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (A/70/L.13), adopting it by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga).  By so doing, the Assembly reaffirmed the need to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.  It called for the intensification of efforts by the parties, including through negotiations, with the support of the international community, towards the conclusion of a final peace settlement, as well as urging renewed international efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions; the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace; the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session; the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the conflict; and existing agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.  It also 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 achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement.

Speaking after the votes, a representative of the European Union thanked the Palestinian delegation for the successful outcome of negotiations, which, he said, showed in the European Union’s consolidated voting pattern on the resolutions.  At the same time, he said that the Union and all its member States considered that whenever “Palestinian Government” was mentioned, that referred to the Palestinian Authority.  The use of the term “Palestine” in any of the resolutions could not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and was without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on that issue.  The European Union as a whole had not expressed a legal qualification with regard to the term “forced displacement” used in a number of resolutions submitted under items 38 and 55.

The representative of the United States said that his country was troubled by repetitive and one-sided General Assembly resolutions designed to condemn Israel.  They damaged prospects for peace by undermining trust between the parties.  All parties had a responsibility for ending the conflict, and the United States was disappointed that United Nations Member States continually singled out Israel.  It was unjust that the United Nations was so often used by Member States to treat Israel unequally.  Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, he said that his country would support Israel’s right to defend innocent lives against terrorism.

The representative of Singapore said that his delegation had voted in favour of resolution “L.10” on the understanding that the reference in its operative paragraph 2 to the achievement of the two-State solution should be interpreted in the same manner as set out in operative paragraph 1 of resolution “L.13”.

The Assembly then turned to the other agenda item, namely the situation in the Middle East, for which it had two draft resolutions before it.

The Assembly then adopted a resolution on Jerusalem (document A/70/L.14) by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).  In so doing, the Assembly reiterated that any actions taken by Israel to impose its jurisdiction on that city were illegal and called on it to immediately cease such measures.  The text also called for respect for the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy places, including the Haram al-Sharif, and urged all sides to defuse tensions and halt provocations and violence at those sites.

The deliberative body then voted on a resolution on the Syrian Golan (document A/70/L.17), adopting it by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.  By the text, the Assembly declared the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 by which it had imposed jurisdiction on the occupied Syrian Golan as null and void and demanded that it withdraw from that territory to the line of 4 June 1967 as per relevant Security Council resolutions.  It also called on all the parties concerned to ensure the resumption of the peace process by implementing Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Following those actions, the representative of Syria thanked all States that had co-sponsored the resolution.  The vote in favour by a majority of nations demonstrated that the was in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter and that Syria’s inalienable right to recover its territory had garnered support in the international community.  The text sent a clear message to Israel that the world rejected its settlement policies and annexation of land by force.

The representative of Argentina, also speaking on behalf of Brazil, said the two countries had voted in favour of that resolution because Israel had illegally acquired the territory by force.  It was important to make progress to end the occupation of the Syrian Golan.

Right of Reply

The representative of Israel said the usual United Nations “anti-Israel festival” had been made worse by some States.  The representative of Lebanon had spoken of fighting terrorism, yet the insincerity of his statement had been highlighted by the oppressive treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps.  The Syrian delegate’s statement was empty and false.  Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua had displayed a complete lack of familiarity with Middle East issues.  Venezuela should be ashamed to justify acts of terror against Israelis.  Pakistan’s representative had talked about victimizing civilians, while in that country, there was police brutality against Afghans. 

The representative of Syria, taking the floor for a second time, said Israel’s delegate had tried to divert attention from the subject of the current debate, namely, Israeli violation of Arab occupied territories, including the Syrian Golan.  What the Syrian delegation had said earlier in the discussion was based on facts documented in reports by the United Nations, human rights organizations, and countries around the world, some of which were Israel’s allies.  The majority of Member States had supported the resolutions because they contained facts.

The representative of Cuba said that the Israeli representative was not familiar with what was going on in her country.  Israeli officials had made statements condemning to death all those who stabbed Jews, and called on soldiers to shoot to kill anyone wielding a screwdriver.  Extra-judicial killings and repression of protests were part of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.  That was why Cuba would continue to defend the cause of the Palestinian people. 

Statement

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, expressed gratitude for the strong message from the General Assembly, which reflected a principled position and signalled to the Palestinian people that the international community was not abandoning them, but was standing with them in their continual struggle to achieve the independent State of Palestine and save the two-State solution.  Settler colonial Powers had, through history, blamed their victims for the crimes of the occupiers.  To continue to crush the will of the Palestinian people would not succeed.  When the flag had been raised in front of the United Nations, it had been a symbol of the Palestinian people.  One day, with Member States’ contribution through adopting the resolutions, the moment of peace would be reached, when there was an end to occupation and when there was a State of Palestine.

Right of Reply

The representative of Nicaragua said in response to Israel that his country had been referred to with a lack of respect.  The majority of Members of the Organization had demonstrated solidarity and voted for a Palestinian Observer State.  Nicaragua had always voted with the majority, and it was not Nicaragua which had isolated itself.  Calling on Israel to put an end to the cycle of “vicious aggression”, he observed that nobody could interpret international law differently just because they were on different continents.

For information media. Not an official record.