Second Committee Passes Resolution Demanding Israel Stop Exploiting Natural Resources in Occupied Territories

GA/EF/3464
8 November 2016
Seventy-first Session, 24th Meeting (PM)

Second Committee Passes Resolution Demanding Israel Stop Exploiting Natural Resources in Occupied Territories

Members Also Pass Text on Oil Slick off Lebanon, Reinvigorating Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development

The General Assembly would demand that Israel stop exploiting, damaging, depleting or endangering natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan, according to one of three draft resolutions approved by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.

Also by that 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”, the Assembly would stress that the wall and settlements Israel is building in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are against international law and deprive Palestinians of natural resources.

The Committee approved the text (document A/C.2/71/L.35) in a recorded vote of 155 in favour and 8 against, with 10 abstentions.

By further terms, the Assembly would call on Israel to end all actions harming the environment, such as the dumping of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and occupied Syrian Golan.  The Assembly would recognize the Palestinians’ right to claim restitution for damage, loss, depletion or endangerment of natural resources due to illegal measures taken by Israel and its settlers.

Also by the text, the Assembly would call on Israel to stop destroying vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage and electricity networks, and stop demolishing or confiscating Palestinian homes and civilian infrastructure, agricultural lands and water wells.  The Assembly would stress the urgent need for reconstruction and development projects, including in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking before the vote, Israel’s delegate said the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report and statements heard were yet another example of one-sided, anti-Israel sentiment, which over the years had become the way Palestinians exploited the Organization’s system as a private theatre.  “This resolution does not belong in this forum,” he said.

Addressing water issues, he said Israel had fulfilled an agreement signed in 1995 by both parties and had gone beyond its obligations.  Palestinians, however, had drilled unauthorized wells and allowed raw sewage to flow in Israeli streets.  His country was preparing a comprehensive, multi-year master plan for improving water infrastructure, including a sewage project in Gaza and a desalinization plant in the West Bank, but the Palestinian Authority had yet to sign the protocol of the agreement.

The representative of Thailand, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, supported economic development aspirations of the Palestinian people and the Syrian people in the occupied Syrian Golan.  “We are of a firm belief that this agenda item is indivisible and relevant to the work of this Committee,” she said.  The Palestinian and Syrian people would be left behind as long as they did not have sovereignty over their national resources.

Speaking after the vote, Slovakia’s delegate, representing the European Union, expressed support for the resolution, but said use of the term “Palestine” should not be construed as recognition of the State of Palestine and was without prejudice to conventions and treaties.

For information media. Not an official record.