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Le droit des palestiniens à l'autodétermination - débat et vote de la troisième commission de l'AG - Communiqué de presse (extraits) (20 novembre 2008) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
20 November 2008

General Assembly

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly
Third Committee
42nd & 43rd Meetings (AM & PM)


13 Texts Approved; Self-Determination of Palestinians, Globalization,
Trafficking in Persons, National Human Rights Bodies among Issues Addressed



The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was today expected to take up the six remaining resolutions from its last meeting, ...


The next draft resolution, on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/63/L.52*), would have the Assembly reaffirm the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to an independent State of Palestine.  It would further urge all States and United Nations entities to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.


Action on Draft Resolutions


Next, the Committee took up the draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/63/L.52*).

As the representative of Egypt, its main sponsor, was reading out the list of additional co-sponsors, the representative of Greece raised a point of order regarding his incorrect reference to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which was duly noted and corrected by Egypt’s representative.

He then delivered a brief statement regarding the draft he had tabled, saying that, for over four decades, Palestinian people had suffered under Israeli occupation, and were denied their basic human rights and the right to self-determination, compelling his Government to present the following draft resolution yet again.  He said his country would continue to call for the fulfilment of that right until it was fully realized.  It was hoped that countries would approve the draft by consensus, thereby sending a strong message on that subject.  The Palestinian people should be allowed to realize their long-overdue right to self- determination on their own land and in their own sovereign and viable State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, reiterated the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination, which implied a possible establishment of a sovereign State according to the Quartet Road Map -- a viable, independent, democratic, fully sovereign Palestinian State living in peace and security, and enjoying territorial integrity, side by side with Israel and its other neighbours.  That result was best for the security of the State of Israel.  He voiced hope that the process that began at Annapolis would allow an equitable solution to the conflict in the Middle East to emerge, and invited the relevant parties to continue their dialogue.  The European Union underscored that the process of negotiation be accompanied by closer cooperation on the ground, and for Israel to ensure improvement to daily life of Palestinians, as based on the agreement on access of movement and other accords.

The representative of Israel then asked for a recorded vote.

In an explanation of vote before action, the representative of the United States said that her country had worked hard to support the development and legitimate political aspiration of the Palestinian people.  Its level of assistance to address the needs of Palestinian people compared favourably to the aid given to other countries.  The Government had no quarrel with the right to self-determination, and, indeed, President Bush had said that the objective was two sovereign, democratic States living side by side in peace and security.  President Abbas had also committed himself to those principles.  However, the United States could not support the resolution and others like it, because they reflected an outdated approach conceived when the solution lay solely in the United Nations.  While there was a role for the Organization, it was to support the two parties as a member of the Quartet.  Such resolutions would undermine the United Nations work in that regard.  Also, one-sided resolutions made no contribution to resolving such issues.

The draft was approved by a vote of 175 in favour to 5 against ( Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions ( Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji) (Annex VII).

The representative of Israel said her Government fully supported the aspirations of the Palestinian people in achieving self-determination, but noted that it could only be realized by achieving a two-State solution, with a Jewish homeland of Israel alongside a Palestinian homeland.  The Israeli President had said to the General Assembly that a solution was closer than ever, and had seemed feasible in light of the Saudi proposal that had eventually evolved into an Arab peace initiative.  Other Israeli leaders further affirmed that a prosperous, viable Palestinian State was in Israel’s own interest.  Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had participated in a high-level meeting of the Quartet two weeks ago, further confirming the country’s commitment to the peace process and establishing a Palestinian State.

She said that, while her Government was prepared to pursue that goal, the Palestinian people must also simultaneously accept the existence of an Israeli homeland for Jewish people.  Yet, Hamas terrorists had recently attacked the population in southern Israel, leading President Abbas himself to concede that such acts would destroy the dreams of self-determination.  Moreover, today’s resolution affirmed self-determination in one-sided manner without placing responsibility on the Palestinian side to ensure the safety of Israel and its citizens.

She noted that, in his last statement on the Middle East, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked whether the continuous tabling of resolutions would bring tangible relief or benefit to the Palestinian people.  In that spirit, she asked the Committee to consider whether the resolution approved today would bring such benefit.  The answer was no, because real progress towards establishing a Palestinian State could only happen through bilateral negotiations.  The Annapolis process had shown signs of progress, as did the meeting two weeks ago in Sharm el Sheikh, which the resolution seemed to have ignored.  Progress would come through genuine consultation between Israel and the Palestinian people, and not through resolutions such as this one.  It was for that reason that she had called for the vote, and had voted against it.

The representative of the Federated States of Micronesia reaffirmed his delegation’s commitment to a two-State solution.  Yet, there were certain provisions included in the preambular section of the draft resolution, prejudging ongoing negotiations between the two parties, which were cause for concern.  At the same time, operative paragraph 2 of the draft could endanger the role of the United Nations on the issue.  Since neither of those paragraphs advanced the right of the Palestinian people, his delegation had voted against the draft.

Canada’s delegate expressed the strongest possible support for the Palestinian people and a solution that would see the emergence of a Palestinian State, as laid out in the Road Map of the Quartet.  Canada encouraged bilateral dialogue and negotiations towards a solution, but, due to the failure of the resolution to properly address such dialogue, Canada could not fully support the draft and it had, instead, abstained from voting.

The representative of Argentina said, notwithstanding the right of the Palestinian people to an independent and viable State, the right to self-determination required an “active subject”, which meant that people were subject to occupation, subjugation, domination and foreign exploitation, in accordance with operative paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution 1514.  The right to self-determination should be interpreted in step with the United Nations Charter and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations.  He drew the Committee’s attention to the situation of the Falkland Islands and General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX), which recognized the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom and stressed the need for renewed bilateral negotiations towards a just and definitive solution to the dispute.

The representative of the Observer Mission of Palestine expressed thanks and appreciation to those who voted in favour of the resolution, including Egypt and the co-sponsors of the draft.  The denial of the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination remained the “major crux” of the sufferings of Palestinians.  It was critical for Member States to continue to show overwhelming support for the resolution, until Palestinians were finally granted their rights.  By voting against the draft, Israel had shown its opposition to the Palestinian right to self-determination.  However, peace settlement negotiations required a recognition of that right as a starting off point, as the right to self-determination should not be seen as an outcome alone.  If Israel was for peace, it would end its colonization and expansionist agenda in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The overwhelming majority of votes in favour of the resolution proved that Israel’s attempts to distort the facts regarding what was happening on the ground had failed.  Israel was an occupying Power that continued to carry out policies to deliberately destroy the social fabric of society.

Turning to the vote cast by the United States against the draft, she said the vote sent an inconsistent message since, in other forums, it had expressed support for a Palestinian State.  She asked the United States to reconsider its vote and the inconsistencies in its approach to the situation.  Peace in the Middle East required a solution that guaranteed the rights of both peoples, and the right to self-determination was the first step in that direction.  For decades, the Palestinian people had struggled to see that right realized and they would continue to do so, and would not succumb, until their right to self-determination was a reality.



Vote on Palestinian Self-Determination

The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to Self-determination (document A/C.3/63/L.52*) was approved by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to 5 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji.

Absent:  Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kiribati, Nauru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Tonga, Vanuatu.


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For information media • not an official record

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