6 DECEMBER 2016

GA/11868

SEVENTY-FIRST SESSION, 53RD MEETING (PM)

General Assembly, Taking Action on Reports of Its Fourth Committee, Adopts 37 Draft Resolutions, Decisions

Upon the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the General Assembly adopted 35 resolutions and 2 decisions today, on issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and decolonization.

Taking up Israeli-Palestinian issues, the Assembly adopted nine draft resolutions, all by recorded vote.  Taking up a draft titled “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)”, it adopted that text by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nauru, Paraguay, South Sudan).

By that draft, the General Assembly urged the international community to provide or increase their contributions to UNRWA in order to address its serious financial constraints.  It also requested that the Secretary-General facilitate broad consultations with Member States, notably host countries, international financial institutions and other donors, to explore all ways and means, including voluntary and assessed contributions, to ensure sufficient, predictable and sustained funding for the duration of the Agency’s mandate.

The Assembly narrowly adopted — by a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 11 against, with 73 abstentions — a draft titled “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories”.  By that text, the Assembly noted with deep regret the onset of the fiftieth year of Israel’s occupation.  It expressed grave concern over the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of unlawful Israeli practices and measures.  The Assembly condemned all illegal settlements, called for the lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, and for an end to its indiscriminate use of force and military operations against the civilian population.

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By recorded vote, the Assembly also adopted drafts on assistance to Palestine refugees; persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities; Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues; Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan; Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; as well as a resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan.  It also adopted a text on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories.

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Background

The General Assembly met this afternoon to consider reports of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on the following agenda items:

/… United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (document A/71/493); report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (document A/71/494);

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Action on Draft Resolutions

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On Israeli-Palestinian issues, the Assembly adopted nine draft resolutions by recorded vote.  It first took up a draft titled “Assistance to Palestine refugees” (document A/71/493/L.7), by which it decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) until 30 June 2020.  It called upon all donors to meet the Agency’s anticipated needs, including those arising from conflict and instability in the Middle East, and from the serious socioeconomic and humanitarian situation.  The Assembly adopted that text by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 9 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, South Sudan, United States).

Taking up a draft titled “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities” (document A/71/493/L.8), the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo).

By that text, the Assembly stressed the necessity for an accelerated return of displaced persons, and called for compliance with the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 13 September 1993.  In the meantime, it endorsed efforts by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to provide humanitarian assistance, on an emergency basis and as a temporary measure, to currently displaced persons in those areas in serious need of continued assistance as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities.

Next, it took up a draft resolution titled “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)” (document A/71/493 III/L.9), adopting it by a recorded 167 votes in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nauru, Paraguay, South Sudan).

According to that text, the General Assembly called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to ensure the safety of UNRWA personnel.  It further urged the international community to provide or increase their contributions to the Agency in order to address its serious financial constraints.  The Assembly also requested that the Secretary-General facilitate broad consultations with Member States, notably host countries, members of the Advisory Commission and other donors, as well as with international financial institutions, to explore all ways and means, including through voluntary and assessed contributions, to ensure that UNRWA was sufficiently, predictably and sustainably funded for the duration of its mandate.

Taking up a draft titled “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues” (document A/71/493/L.10), the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, South Sudan, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Paraguay, Togo).

By that text, the Assembly requested that the Secretary-General take all appropriate steps, in consultation with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, for the protection of Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel.  It called upon Israel to render all facilities and assistance to the Secretary-General in implementation of the present resolution.  It urged both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to deal with the issue of Palestine refugees’ properties and revenues within the framework of final status peace negotiations.

Next, the Assembly adopted — by a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 11 against, with 73 abstentions — a resolution titled “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” (document A/71/494).

By its terms, the General Assembly expressed grave concern about the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of unlawful Israeli practices and measures.  It condemned all illegal settlements and called for the lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, and for that country to end its indiscriminate use of force and military operations against the civilian population.

The Assembly also adopted — by a recorded 168 votes in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo) — a draft resolution titled “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (document A/71/494/L.12).

By that text, the Assembly demanded that Israel accept the Convention’s de jure applicability in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with its provisions.  It further called upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions on the part of Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Taking up a draft titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/71/494/L.13), the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo).

Under the terms of that text, the General Assembly condemned acts of violence, destruction, harassment, provocation and incitement by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and called for accountability for the illegal actions perpetrated in that regard.  It demanded that Israel comply with its legal obligations in relation to the advisory opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004.

By a draft resolution titled “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (document A/71/494/L.14), the General Assembly demanded that Israel cease all practices and actions violating the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians, forced displacement, and any obstruction of humanitarian assistance, among other things.

It also called for urgent measures to ensure the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as urgent attention to the plight and rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli jails.  The Assembly adopted that draft by a recorded 162 votes in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Malawi, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Vanuatu).

The Assembly then took up a draft titled “The occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/71/494/L.15), adopting it by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 15 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly called upon Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions on the occupied Syrian Golan, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981).  It further called upon that country to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on Syrian citizens.

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For information media. Not an official record.