Concluding Session, Third Committee Approves Draft Resolution “The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-determination” – Press Release (GA/SHC/4285) (Excerpts)

19 NOVEMBER 2019



he Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/74/L.58), which the Chair said contains no programme budget implications.

An observer for the State of Palestine, speaking for the Group of 77 and China, said the draft emphasizes the urgency of the fight against racism and welcomes discussions in various areas in follow‑up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

The Chair, replying to the observer for the State of Palestine, said Israel has requested a vote.

The representative of Finland, speaking for the European Union, said he does not believe additional instruments are needed, such as a possible declaration on the rights of people of African descent.  The draft resolution correctly reflects the language of the Durban Declaration and he expressed regret that other substantive proposals were not accepted, and that only proposals updating the text were accepted.  The European Union is unable to support the draft resolution.

The representative of Israel, speaking in explanation of position, said the Durban conference was hijacked by countries who turned it into a platform for defaming Israel.  His country withdrew from the Durban conference and therefore cannot accept a resolution aiming to eliminate racism that is founded on the racist Durban conference in 2001.

The representative of the United States said that from its own experience, the best antidote to offensive speech — rather than bans and punishment — is legal protection, outreach and the protection of free expression, both on and offline.  The United States cannot support this draft because it is not genuinely focused on combatting racism.  Among the concerns are its endorsements of the Durban Declaration.  The draft serves as a vehicle to prolong divisions stemming from the Durban conference.  As such, the United States will vote against it and urges others to do the same.

The Committee then approved draft resolution “L.60/Rev.1” by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 10 against, with 44 abstentions.

By the text, the General Assembly would call on States that have not done so to accede to and/or ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and on States parties to consider making the declaration under its article 14, as well as consider withdrawing reservations to article 4, along with any reservations that are incompatible with the Convention.  By other terms, the Assembly would also express concern at the lack of progress in elaborating complementary standards to the Convention.  It would also welcome the decision to establish the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.

The representative of Iran said that he understands the anger of “the last apartheid regime of the twenty‑first century, Israel”, regarding this resolution.  He quoted Israel’s Prime Minister in stating that “the weak crumble, are smothered and erased from history, while the strong survive.  The strong are respected and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end, peace is made with the strong.”

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/74/L.58), which the Chair said contains no programme budget implications.

The representative of Egypt, introducing the draft on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said Palestinians in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, suffer under Israel’s occupation and the denial of their natural rights, including to self‑determination.  Therefore, the draft stresses the need for respecting the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  It also recalls the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion (2004) that Israel’s unlawful wall impedes the rights of the Palestinian people to self‑determination.

The Chair, replying to Egypt’s representative, said Israel requested a vote on the draft.

The representative of Israel, in a general statement, said the draft resolution is not about the right of Palestinians, but, rather, creating a narrative that vilifies his country.  Even the Jewish people have the right to self‑determination, he said, underscoring the politicization of this issue.  Placing no responsibility on the Palestinians, the United Nations is incapable of playing a constructive role in this conflict.  Israel will vote against the draft and he urged all delegations to do the same.

The Committee then approved the draft “L.58” by a recorded vote of 164 in favour to 5 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Rwanda, Togo, Tonga and Vanuatu).

By its terms, the General Assembly would reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination, including to their independent State of Palestine.  It would also urge all States and United Nations specialized agencies and organizations to continue to support and assist Palestinians in the early realization of their right to self‑determination.

The representative of Argentina, in explanation of the position, reiterated her country’s recognition of Palestinians’ right to self‑determination.  Her delegation voted in favour, stressing the need to recognize the Palestinian State and promote negotiations aimed at achieving it.  Israel’s right to live within secure borders must also be recognized.  She welcomed the draft’s adoption, as it supports self‑determination for Palestinians.

The representative of Canada said she voted for the draft resolution, as it addresses the core issue of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict.  It is essential that both sides of the conflict have a prosperous future and she called for direct negotiations towards achieving lasting peace in the region.

An observer for the State of Palestine expressed gratitude to the 164 Member States that supported the draft, which more broadly reflects the collective will to advance a just and lasting peace.  Stressing that Israel rejects peace and violates the right of Palestinians to self‑determination, and that Palestinians recognize the State of Israel, she said that Israel, by contrast, has yet to recognize the Palestinian State.  The illegal occupation has become more violent and Israel’s actions amount to a war crime, she said, pointing to the bombardment of people in Gaza, including in air strikes last week.  Israel repeatedly stated that the right to self‑determination is a basic human right.  “We must not accept empty slogans from the occupying power,” she asserted.

The representative of San Marino said his delegation intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution; however, its vote was not reflected on the screen.


For information media. Not an official record.

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