Summary record of the 34th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 7 December 2012, at 10 a.m.
Chair: Mr. Talbot ……………………………………………………………….. (Guyana)
Agenda item 20: Sustainable development (continued) (A/C.2/67/L.34/Rev.1)
10. Mr. Jawhara (Syrian Arab Republic) said that, as in previous years, Israel was attempting to take advantage of the Committee by giving the impression that it was a peace-loving State committed to sustainable development. The occupation authorities wished to draw attention away from their persistent violations of human rights principles and international resolutions. Although the occupying Power had submitted a draft resolution on entrepreneurship for development, it had paralyzed the social and economic life of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan. In the latter, it was violating international law by enacting various projects on Arab land in cooperation with Western companies. It continued to bury toxic waste, uproot trees and destroy properties, thereby preventing the Arab inhabitants from accessing natural resources and water. It had put an end to an arrangement, negotiated through the International Committee of the Red Cross, which had made it possible for apples farmed in the occupied Syrian Golan to be sold in other parts of the Syrian Arab Republic.
11. Only a few days previously, the General Assembly had granted Palestine the status of observer State. The occupation authorities had retaliated immediately by authorizing the construction of 3,000 additional settlement units around the Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, and withholding Palestinian tax revenue that was needed in order to pay salaries and maintain infrastructure. The Israeli occupiers clearly had no intention of promoting a just and comprehensive peace.
12. By voting against the draft resolution, the Committee would send a strong signal that Israel should comply with international resolutions and end its occupation of Arab territories. Member States that supported Palestinian statehood should also recognize the right of the Palestinian people and the inhabitants of the occupied Syrian Golan to build their own institutions and pursue sustainable development in accordance with the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), “The future we want”, contained in annex to General Assembly resolution 66/288.
13. Mr. Al-Hajri (Oman), speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States in explanation of vote before the voting, said that the Israeli occupation continued to prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their right to development, as documented in reports prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) (A/67/91-E/2012/13) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (TD/B/59/2). That situation was strikingly at odds with Israel’s claim to promote sustainable development. The Group of Arab States had attempted to introduce some balance to the text, but the proposed changes had been rejected. Its members would therefore vote against the draft resolution.
14. Mr. Khalil (Egypt) speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that the draft resolution focused excessively on national policies for entrepreneurship, ignoring the need for a conducive international environment. Developing countries could not rely solely on the domestic market; they needed an open multilateral trading system complemented by technology transfer and capacity-building. Moreover, the draft resolution did not take into consideration the ESCWA and UNCTAD reports, which demonstrated that the Israeli occupation was the principal obstacle to the development of the Palestinian economy; the land available for agriculture was being steadily reduced and the blockade on the Gaza Strip prevented the inhabitants from engaging in trade. In view of the subject of the draft resolution, those realities could not be ignored.
17. Draft resolution A/C.2/67/L.34/Rev.1 was adopted by 129 votes to 31, with 9 abstentions.
18. Mr. Kaganda (United Republic of Tanzania) said that his delegation had sponsored the draft resolution because it believed that, given a conducive international environment, entrepreneurship had great potential for the promotion of sustainable development. His Government had always been supportive of the Palestinian cause and was therefore concerned that the goal of the draft resolution had been obscured by regional considerations, setting a dangerous precedent. His delegation hoped that, in future, the Committee would continue to seek consensus as a means to build confidence and resolve issues of an economic, political and social nature in a constructive manner.
22. Mr. Khalil (Egypt), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the sponsors had shown no sign of flexibility during the negotiations and the Group of Arab States had determined its position only after the door to negotiations had been closed. The Group was committed to protecting the interests, dignity, development and right to life of the peoples of the Arab States. If the representative of Israel was concerned for their welfare, he should do everything in his power to alleviate their suffering.