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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/C.3/52/SR.43
5 December 1997

Original: English

Fifty-second session
Official Records


Third Committee

Summary record of the 43rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 20 November 1997, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. Busacca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Italy)

Contents

/...

Agenda item 111: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)*



/…


Agenda item 111: Right of peoples to self-determination ( continued ) (A/C.3/52/L.41)

Draft resolution A/C.3/52/L.41, entitled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”.

13. The Chairman said that draft resolution A/C.3/52/L.41 had no programme budget implications. Angola, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau had joined the sponsors.

14. Mr. Winnick (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said that his delegation would oppose the draft resolution because, like so many before it, it sought to involve the United Nations in the Middle East peace process by dealing with a final status issue which was to be the object of direct negotiation among the parties. Also, it singled out one group of people for self-determination, although the Committee had previously adopted a draft resolution on the general subject of self-determination. There were numerous groups of people throughout the world, some of which regarded themselves as being under foreign occupation, yet they were not singled out in the same way.

15. Adoption of such a politicized draft resolution would not help to reinvigorate the peace process; his delegation believed it might have the opposite effect.

16. Ms. Hadar (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said that her delegation would vote against the draft resolution, because it prejudged the outcome of the final status talks to be held between Israel and the Palestinians. That was a matter to be dealt with in the context of bilateral negotiations, not in international forums.

17. The fourth preambular paragraph expressed concern over the state of the peace process and the supposed non-implementation of the agreements between the parties. The Committee was not the right place for analysing the ups and downs of the negotiations. Also, it should be noted that Israel had implemented all of the commitments contained in its agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

18. Her delegation was heartened that Israel and the Palestinians had begun meeting again on substantive issues, and looked forward to progress in those talks.

19. The Chairman asked the Committee to vote on draft resolution A/C.3/52/L.41.

20. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
21. Draft resolution A/C.3/52/L.41 was adopted by 141 votes to 2, with 7 abstentions.

22. Mr. Al-Hariri (Syria) welcomed the adoption of the draft text, which showed that the international community was concerned to end the suffering of the Palestinian people. His delegation had voted in favour in order to show its support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people and its hope that negotiations would lead to a lasting, comprehensive settlement, with land in exchange for peace, on the basis of the Madrid talks and the relevant Security Council resolutions. As the entire world was well aware, it was the Israeli side that was to blame for the deterioration of the Middle East peace process referred to in the fourth preambular paragraph, owing to its refusal to honour its obligations. His delegation had reservations about the fifth preambular paragraph: it did not adequately reflect Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which called for Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied territories, in accordance with the principle that territory could not legitimately be acquired by force.

23. Mr. Najem (Lebanon) said that the Committee’s adoption of the draft resolution was an indication that the international community wished to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, whose legitimate human rights and aspirations had been denied by Israel. Lebanon had voted in favour to show its support for the Palestinian people’s struggle to determine their own future, an end to the occupation of their land, and a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East on the basis of the Madrid conference, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), and the principle of land for peace. Israel was to blame for the deterioration of the Middle East peace process mentioned in the fourth preambular paragraph, as it had accepted obligations which it was refusing to fulfil. His delegation had reservations about the fifth preambular paragraph, which was a one-sided reflection of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in that it did not state explicitly that Israel must withdraw from all occupied Arab territories in accordance with the principle that territory could not legitimately be acquired by force.

24. Mr. Willie (Norway) said that Norway supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It had abstained from voting on the draft resolution, considering that the final status of the territories was a subject for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. His Government was continuing to encourage the parties to accelerate the ongoing negotiations. In the meantime, the Committee should be careful to avoid adding to or detracting from what only the parties could decide.

25. Mr. Amyari (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution, but reserved its position regarding the fourth preambular paragraph; the formulation was not conducive to the full restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

26. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) thanked the States that had voted for the draft resolution; the Egyptian delegation, in particular, had made praiseworthy efforts to promote that outcome. It had been rewarding to find so many States, including some that had not supported similar draft resolutions supporting the text, thus underscoring their support of the peace process and of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. That right was based on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other international conventions. Recognition of that right did not imply any prejudgement as to the outcome of the peace process, and acceptance of the process of negotiation did not imply any renunciation of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. It was devoutly to be hoped that the draft resolution would be unanimously adopted in the General Assembly and that the Palestinian people would soon realize their aspirations to freedom and independence, after so much suffering.

27. The Chairman noted that the Committee had concluded its consideration of item 111.

/…

50. Mr. Taub (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the observer for Palestine had ignored the fact that in recent years direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had brought about dramatic changes. At the current time, 95 per cent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip lived under Palestinian rule. If, as the observer for Palestine claimed, the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people were among the worst in history, one could only wonder who bore the responsibility for those violations.

51. During its negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel had put forward detailed proposals for the protection of human rights. Unfortunately, the Palestinian of rights of reply. side had objected to the inclusion of specific safeguards. Then, as now, the Palestinian leadership was interested only in its political agenda, not in the protection of human rights. If the observer for Palestine genuinely wished to address the real issues affecting the lives of Palestinians in the territories, there were forums for doing so. Accordingly, Israel called upon the Palestinian side to return to the parties’ negotiating table to address all issues, including the final status issues. There was no doubt that the human rights of the Palestinians in the territories was a serious question. Nevertheless, until the Palestinian leadership fought terrorism and took part in negotiations on the final status issues, it was hard to believe they were taking the question of human rights seriously.

/…

The meeting rose at 5 p.m.


__________
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.


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