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Summary record of the 28th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 10 November 2006, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson: Ms. Intelmann ....................................................... (Estonia)
84. The Chairperson informed the Committee that draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1 had no programme budget implications.
85. Mr. Edrees (Egypt), introducing the draft resolution, said that Brunei Darussalam, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela wished to have their names added to the list of sponsors.
86. The following revisions had been made to A/C.2/61/L.13: in the ninth preambular paragraph, the word “grave” had been deleted; in the tenth preambular paragraph, the phrase “and the razing of agricultural fields” had been deleted; and in the thirteenth preambular paragraph, the phrase “as it is depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources and gravely affecting their economic and social conditions” had been revised to read “and of its grave effect on the natural resources and economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people”.
87. The introduction of the draft resolution coincided with a new massacre perpetrated against the Palestinian people and the United Nations had a responsibility to end their suffering and the Israeli occupation. He looked forward therefore to receiving strong support for the draft resolution from Member States.
88. Mr. Manor (Israel), in a general statement, emphasized that Israel had a vested interest in improving the state of the Palestinian economy for the benefit of both sides. Just a few years earlier, successful Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation had led to employment for over 150,000 Palestinians in Israel whose incomes had constituted a significant share of the total income for the Palestinian labour force. Unfortunately, the one-sided resolution before the Committee would not contribute in any way to creating a climate of stability and security that would advance economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians; nor would it contribute to the peace process in the region or alleviate the conditions on the ground. Playing with words would not improve the standard of living of the Palestinian population. All forms of cooperation needed goodwill and mutual trust on both sides. Nothing could be achieved by alienating one party, and consequently the one-sided draft resolution would yield no results. Adopting another anti-Israeli resolution would not give an ounce of comfort to the suffering Palestinian population.
89. The draft resolution totally and deliberately ignored the main cause of the grave situation of the Palestinian economy, namely, the terrorist activities perpetrated by the Hamas Government. Its policies of terror and hatred prevented cooperation in many fields, including the economy. Improvement of the economic conditions in the Palestinian territories could be achieved only if the basic conditions for peace prevailed there. As long as the Hamas Government continued its policy of terror against Israeli citizens and ignored the three benchmarks established by the international community — renouncing violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements signed — no economic cooperation could occur.
90. The economic situation in the Palestinian territory was not the outcome of a natural disaster but a man-made catastrophe. Hamas had repeatedly declared its commitment to the well-being of the Palestinian people and in early 2006 had become officially responsible for them. That organization was behind the terrorist attacks against Israel and thus was fully responsible for the lack of economic cooperation with the Palestinian population and the deterioration of their economic situation.
91. No operative paragraph in the draft resolution would bring the parties any closer to changing the prevailing economic conditions. The only operative action required was the complete cessation of terrorist activity against Israel and the resumption of peace negotiations in good faith. Israel would vote against the draft resolution and called upon all those who truly wished to contribute to the peace process in the region to reject it as well.
92. Ms. Interiano (El Salvador), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that her delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolution on the basis of universally recognized principles and in particular the right of the Palestinian people to control their natural resources. However, the draft resolution should have been more balanced in order to promote dialogue between the two sides, end the violence between them and achieve a peaceful resolution that recognized the right of both parties to live within secure, internationally recognized borders.
93. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1.
Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.
Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Uganda.
94. Draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1 was adopted by 141 votes to 6, with 6 abstentions.*
95. Mr. Huimasalo (Finland), speaking in explanation of vote after the voting on behalf of the European Union; the acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania; the candidate countries Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey; the stabilization and association process countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia; and, in addition, Norway, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, said that the countries concerned had voted in favour of the draft resolution in the belief that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power.
96.96. The European Union reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied territories. However, the issues referred to in the draft resolution should be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East Peace Process. The European Union remained committed — in cooperation with its partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world — to assisting the parties to achieve a final settlement to the Middle East conflict. The resolution just adopted must not therefore be considered prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of those negotiations.
97. The position of the European Union regarding the separation barrier and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory remained unchanged.
98. Mr. Mally (United States of America) said that his delegation had long supported the humanitarian needs and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. President Bush had clearly articulated that the objective of the United States was two sovereign democratic States — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security. Through its failure to renounce terror, recognize Israel and respect previous agreements, the Palestinian Authority Government was creating hardships for its people and postponing possibilities for reinvigorating the road map and progress towards the two-State goal. President Abbas, by contrast, remained committed to those principles and his peace platform.
99. The United States had not been able to support the draft resolution just adopted because it improperly involved the General Assembly in issues that must be resolved by the parties themselves in permanent status negotiations. The language of the draft resolution was one-sided and unbalanced, placing demands on one party to the conflict without recognizing the obligations of the other parties. The role of the United Nations, as a member of the Quartet, should be to support the two parties to the conflict. Resolutions like the one at hand undermined the credibility of the United Nations, which must be seen as an honest broker in the conflict. The Second Committee should not be used to advance one-sided and unbalanced views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
100. Mr. Normandin (Canada) was concerned about humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories and said that protection of and the right to natural resources were critical to the social and economic viability of any future Palestinian State. Nevertheless, the draft resolution did not advance the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Canada had therefore decided to abstain in the vote.
101. His delegation reiterated its reservations about the reference to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Any reference to that opinion should unequivocally reflect its non-binding status and should not selectively quote from it without a balancing reference to Israel’s security concerns.
102. Finally, he reiterated his delegation’s position on the terms “character” and “status”, which were synonymous. The term “character” had no known legal meaning under international humanitarian law, including customary international law.
103. Mr. Al-Ghanim (Kuwait) asked which delegation had requested a recorded vote on draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1.
104. The Chairperson said that the recorded vote had been requested by the United States of America.
105. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine), making a general statement, said that lone voices had attempted to derail the action by arguing that the topic and draft resolution were one-sided and unbalanced. Since 1972, the Second Committee had repeatedly adopted draft resolutions affirming the Palestinian people’s permanent sovereignty over their natural resources and calling on Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its violations.
106. Unfortunately, Israel had disregarded those draft resolutions and had intensified its abuse of those natural resources. Israel’s actions on the ground — such as its continuous aggression against the Palestinian people and use of massive, indiscriminate force — only obstructed efforts to reach peace. The latest incident had been a massacre in which 20 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children and 8 women, had been killed. Such actions also included illegal actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, the building of settlements in the West Bank and the continued construction of the wall in utter disregard of international law and the international community.
107. The remarks made by the representative of Israel were offensive and unacceptable. The accusation that the draft resolution was irrelevant flouted the will of the international community, which had repeatedly tried to uphold international law and the principles championed by the United Nations. If the draft resolution was to be considered irrelevant to the principles of the United Nations and the obligations of its Member States, he wondered what then was relevant.
108. The accusation reflected the bankruptcy of the accuser, which had run out of justifications for continuing to snub the international community and the laws it observed. The United Nations was for all its Member States, and the resolutions adopted by them were relevant because they represented their will. Resolutions could not be tailored to the preferences of a minority that had chosen to remove itself from the international consensus that the United Nations, its resolutions and international laws were indeed relevant.
109. By adopting the draft resolution, the international community had reiterated its commitment to international law and the rights it established. The vote also demonstrated the determination of the international community to hold all States to the same standards and responsibilities, demonstrating that no Member State was above international law.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.
*The delegation of Brunei Darussalam subsequently informed the Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution.
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.