SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION, 41ST MEETING (PM)
GA/12299
10 DECEMBER 2020

Français 

Upon the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the General Assembly adopted 34 draft resolutions and 3 draft decisions today, on questions ranging from the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict and decolonization to the effects of atomic radiation and the peaceful uses of outer space.

The Assembly adopted the resolution “Assistance to Palestine refugees” by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Kiribati, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau).  By that text, the General Assembly expresses grave concern at the difficult situation of Palestine refugees under occupation, in particular those in the Gaza Strip, underlining the importance of assistance and urgent reconstruction efforts in the blockaded enclave.  The Assembly calls upon all donors to continue strengthening their efforts to meet the anticipated needs of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), including for recent emergency, recovery and reconstruction appeals and plans for Gaza, as well as regional crisis response plans to address the situation of Palestine refugees in Syria.

It went on to adopt the resolution “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” by a recorded 162 votes in favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malawi, Nauru, Solomon Islands).  By that text, the General Assembly expresses deep concern about the Agency’s critical financial situation, noting that contributions have been neither predictable nor sufficient to meet its growing needs.  As such, the Assembly stresses the need for further efforts to comprehensively address UNRWA’s recurrent funding shortfalls, while also commending its measures to address the financial crisis, such as implementing the Medium Term Strategy and various internal measures.

Further by that text, however, the Assembly also expresses profound concern that, despite those steps, the UNRWA’s programme budget, funded primarily through voluntary contributions from Member States and intergovernmental organizations, faces persistent shortfalls, increasingly threatening the Agency’s core programmes.  By other terms, the Assembly calls upon Israel to ensure the expedited and unimpeded import of all necessary construction materials into Gaza and to reduce the burdensome cost of importing UNRWA supplies.  It also calls upon donors to ensure early annual voluntary contributions, less earmarking and multi‑year funding.

The Assembly also adopted the draft “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues” by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 12 abstentions.  By that text, the General Assembly requests that the Secretary‑General take all appropriate steps to protect Arab properties, assets and property rights in Israel.  Further, it calls upon Israel to render all facilities and assistance to the Secretary‑General in the resolution’s implementation, and upon all parties concerned to provide the Secretary‑General with any pertinent information concerning such property in Israel.  Moreover, the Assembly urges the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as agreed between them, to deal with the important issue of Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues within the framework of final‑status peace negotiations.

In another recorded vote, the Assembly narrowly adopted the resolution “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 76 in favour to 14 against, with 83 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly requests that the Special Committee continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially violations of the Geneva Convention.  It also requests that the Special Committee regularly submit periodic reports on the situation to the Secretary‑General and continue to investigate the treatment and status of prisoners and detainees.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan”, by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Hungary, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 17 abstentions.  By that text, the General Assembly condemns acts of violence, destruction, harassment, provocation and incitement by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and calls upon Israel to accept the de jure applicability of the Geneva Convention and comply with all of its obligations under international law.  Moreover, it demands that Israel comply with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice.

Taking up the resolution “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, United States), with 16 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly demands that Israel cease all practices and actions violating the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians, forced displacement, and any obstruction of humanitarian assistance, among other things.  It also demands that Israel comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and cease all settlement activities, construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution “The occupied Syrian Golan” by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Liberia, United States), with 20 abstentions.  By that text, the General Assembly calls upon Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions and to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and in particular to desist from establishing settlements.  Further, it calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan.

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Action on Draft Resolutions

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The Assembly went on to adopt — by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Kiribati, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau) — the draft resolution “Assistance to Palestine refugees” (document A/C.4/75/L.9).  By that text, the Assembly expresses concern about the negative implications of the severe financial crisis affecting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for the continued delivery of its core programmes.  By further terms, the Assembly calls upon all donors to continue to strengthen their efforts to meet the Agency’s anticipated needs, including with regard to increased expenditures and needs arising from conflicts and instability in the region, and from the serious socioeconomic and humanitarian situation.  The Assembly also invites India to become a member of the Agency’s Advisory Commission.

The Assembly then took up the draft “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (UNRWA, document A/C.4/75/L.10), adopting it by a recorded 162 votes in favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malawi, Nauru, Solomon Islands).  By that text, the General Assembly expresses deep concern over UNRWA’s critical financial situation, caused by its structural underfunding as well as rising needs and expenditures resulting from the deterioration of socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions.  It notes that contributions have not been predictable enough or sufficient to meet growing needs and remedy persistent shortfalls, which were exacerbated by the 2018 suspension of contributions from the Agency’s largest single voluntary donor.

By other terms, the Assembly commends UNRWA’s measures to address the financial crisis, including by implementing the Medium Term Strategy for 2016‑2021 and various internal steps to contain expenditures, reduce operational and administrative costs, maximize the use of resources and reduce funding shortfalls.  However, it expresses concern about plans and measures to interfere with or obstruct the Agency’s operations, including in East Jerusalem, contrary to international law and the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.

Further by that text, the Assembly commends the Agency’s important role throughout its areas of operations in helping to prevent and contain the spread of COVID‑19.  Moreover, the Assembly expresses its grave concern over attempts to discredit UNRWA despite its proven operational capacity and consistent implementation of its mandate.

The Assembly urges Israel, by other terms, to expeditiously reimburse UNRWA for all transit charges incurred and other financial losses sustained as a result of delays and restrictions on movement and access imposed by that country.  Moreover, it calls upon Israel to cease obstructing the Agency’s movement and access, and to cease levying taxes, extra fees and charges.

Adopting the draft “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues” (document A/C.4/75/L.11), by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 12 abstentions, the Assembly requests that the Secretary‑General take all appropriate steps to protect Arab properties, assets and property rights in Israel.  Further, it calls upon Israel to render all facilities and assistance to the Secretary‑General in implementation of the present resolution.  Moreover, the Assembly urges both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to deal with the important issue of Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues within the framework of final‑status peace negotiations.

The Assembly narrowly adopted the draft resolution “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/C.4/75/L.12), by a recorded vote of 76 in favour to 14 against, with 83 abstentions.  By that text, the General Assembly reiterates its demand that Israel cooperate with the Special Committee and requests that the latter continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially its violations of the Geneva Convention.  Moreover, it requests that the Special Committee continue to investigate the treatment and status of thousands of prisoners and detainees, including children, women and elected representatives, in Israeli prisons and detention centres in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

By other terms, the Assembly requests that the Secretary‑General provide the Special Committee with all necessary facilities, including those required for its visits to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It also requests that the Assembly continue to task the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with assisting the Special Committee in the performance of its tasks.

The Assembly then adopted the draft “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/C.4/75/L.13), by a recorded 150 votes in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Hungary, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 17 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly condemns Israel’s settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as violations of international humanitarian law.  It deplores, by other terms, Israel’s construction and expansion of settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem, including its so‑called E‑1 plan, which aims to connect its illegal settlements and further isolate occupied East Jerusalem.  The Assembly further deplores ongoing settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, which further fragment and undermine the contiguity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

By other terms, the Assembly condemns Israel’s demolition of Palestinian buildings in the neighbourhood of Wadi al‑Hummus, in the village of Sur Bahir, south of occupied East Jerusalem.  Moreover, it reiterates its demand for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  Further, the Assembly demands that Israel comply with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice.

Taking up the draft “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (document A/C.4/75/L.14), the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, United States), with 16 abstentions.  By that draft, the General Assembly urges the parties to observe restraint and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, especially in areas of religious and cultural sensitivity, including in East Jerusalem.

Also by that text, the Assembly demands that Israel cease all measures contravening international law, as well as discriminatory legislation, policies and actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.  They include the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians, forced displacement and any obstruction of humanitarian assistance.  The Assembly also demands that Israel cease all settlement activities, construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.

The Assembly condemns, by further terms, all acts of violence, especially any use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians and including against journalists and medical and humanitarian personnel.  It also condemns all acts of violence by militants and armed groups against Israeli civilian areas resulting in loss of life and injury.

Adopting the draft “The occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/C.4/75/L.15), by a recorded 151 votes in favour to 3 against (Israel, Liberia, United States), with 20 abstentions, the General Assembly calls upon Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions; desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan; and in particular desist from establishing settlements.  Further, it calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Speaking in an explanation of position, the representative of Brazil noted that draft resolution L.14 makes reference to holy places in Jerusalem, and suggested that the language of future resolutions should reflect the historical significance and importance of those sites for the three monotheistic religions.

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For information media. Not an official record.