23 November 2015
Addressing Range of Rights Issues, from Self-Determination to Globalization,
Third Committee Sends 13 Draft Resolutions to General Assembly
Seventieth Session, 53rd Meeting (AM)
Draft resolutions that would see the General Assembly address such topics as the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the impact of mercenaries and globalization on human rights were among 13 texts approved today by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).
By a vote of 170 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, South Sudan, Tonga), the Committee sent to the General Assembly a text that would have the world body reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine. The vote was called by Israel, whose representative said a two-State solution could only come about if the Palestinians sat down with his country at the negotiating table. The representative of the State of Palestine welcomed the approval of the text, saying it sent a strong message for Israel to alter its policy and end its occupation.
The delegates of Israel and the State of Palestine spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Committee then took up a draft resolution on “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/70/L.42).
That resolution would have the General Assembly reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine. It would also have the Assembly urge all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.
Committee Chair OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said a recorded vote had been requested.
Speaking in explanation of vote prior to the vote, the representative of Israel said that only Israelis and Palestinians, sitting together at the negotiating table, could make the difficult compromises needed to forge a lasting peace. The Palestinians had continued to undermine peace efforts with unilateral steps. The text was a clear example of encouraging the Palestinians to take further unilateral steps rather than go back to the negotiating table. Israel was willing to make painful compromises, but the Palestinians had not recognized it as the homeland of the Jewish people. It was easier to speak from a United Nations podium than to negotiate. All peoples in the world had the right to self-determination, but Israel would vote against the text because the solution to the conflict did not lie in New York, but in direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Israel supported a two-State solution, but that solution had to be based on mutual recognition and security on the ground. Unilateralism was a step backwards. As such, he said, Israel was calling for a vote and it would vote against the text.
The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 170 in favour, 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States) and 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, South Sudan, Tonga).
The representative of Argentina welcomed the approval of the text. His country was in favour of Israel’s right to be recognized by all and to live in peace and security. It was hoped that the text would contribute to achieving the self-determination of the Palestinian people.
The representative of the State of Palestine expressed satisfaction over the overwhelming support of the resolution, which sent a clear message to the occupying Power that its policy was not tolerated and had to be ceased. That resolution was in no way an obstacle to the peace process. On the contrary, it was promoting peace and recalling the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Israel’s opposition to the text highlighted its refusal to work towards a two-State solution. Rather than denying Palestinians rights, it was time that the occupation was brought to an end and that peace and security between Palestinians and Israelis became a reality.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, Israel’s delegate said that stabbings by radical Islamists had increased and regretted that the Palestinians had refused to recognize the Israeli State. He reiterated his Government’s determination to work towards a lasting peace whereby the rights and security of Israelis was guaranteed.
The representative of the State of Palestine, exercising the right of reply, said Israel had launched three wars against trapped Palestinians, had destroyed their homes and evicted them, and continued to occupy them. Such actions were really far from working towards peace. The Palestinians were frustrated and would continue tirelessly to stand up for their rights.
For information media. Not an official record.