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Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan ( continued)
In the absence of Ms. Rasi (Finland), Mr. Aliyev (Azerbaijan), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Oral decision on the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/59/121-E/2004/88)
40. The President suggested that the Council should take note of the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people, contained in document A/59/121-E/2004/88.
41. It was so decided.
Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (continued) (A/59/89-E/2004/21, E/2004/L.25)
Draft resolution E/2004/L.25
61. The President invited the Council to take action on draft resolution E/2004/L.25, entitled, “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”. He noted that Malaysia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates had joined the sponsors of the draft resolution.
62. 62. Mr. Niewenhuis (Netherlands) speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, as a result of informal consultations, several revisions should be made to the draft resolution. The words “and ES-1016 of 20 July 2004”, referring to the advisory opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice on Israel’s construction of the dividing wall, should be added to the end of preambular paragraph 4. In preambular paragraph 10, “ Alarmed by” should be replaced by “Also gravely concerned by ”. In preambular paragraph 12, “Welcoming ” should be replaced by “Acknowledging ”. A preambular paragraph 16 should be added, to read “Calling on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map in cooperation with the Quartet”.
63. Mr. Ayari (Tunisia) said that the oral revisions made by the representative of the European Union reflected the understanding reached during informal consultations and proposed that the Observer delegation of Palestine should be added to the list of sponsors of draft resolution E/2004/L.25.
64. Mr. Niang (Senegal) said that Senegal had joined the list of sponsors of the draft resolution.
65. Mr. Fox (United States) speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that his country’s Mid-East policy was focused on achieving President Bush’s vision of the two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The essential requirements for such a solution were an effective Palestinian security performance, renewal of a serious political process aimed at a two-State solution and response to humanitarian needs through the building of strong, responsible Palestinian Authority institutions in preparation for statehood. One-sided resolutions like the one at hand undermined the credibility of the work done in the Council and did nothing to improve the situation in the region and of the people in need of help. His country opposed actions that diverted attention from the practical steps that the Quartet and its partners in the international and regional communities must take to move the parties towards realization of the two-State vision. For that reason it voted against the recent General Assembly resolution relating to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Israeli security barrier. However, it remained concerned about the routing of the barrier and its effects on the Palestinian people and the negotiating process. He appealed to the Council to work effectively on practical steps to address the needs of the Palestinians and to bring both parties back to the path towards peace.
66. Mr. Choi (Australia) said that his country shared the concern of the international community about the lot of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and remained committed to relieving their suffering. Australia, however, had particular reservations about the advisory opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory and had voted against the General Assembly resolution referring the matter to the Court because of concern that it would distract the parties from the urgent need to resume negotiations. In addition, the text of the resolution should have contained more reference to the responsibility of both parties to contain violence. His country would abstain from voting on draft resolution E/2004/L.25 because it strongly believed that such resolutions should be dealt with in a more appropriate United Nations forum. Nor could his country accept the automatic transmission of the issue to the 2005 session of the Council while the need to streamline its agenda remained.
67. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution E/2004/L.25.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
United States of America.
68. Draft resolution E/2004/L.25, as orally revised, was adopted by 51 votes to 1, with 1 abstention.
69. Mr. Shimizu (Japan) said his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it believed that the Quartet and the international community including Egypt were making every effort to ensure the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, which should lead to reactivation of the Road Map. His country supported and encouraged those efforts. Nevertheless, the record should show that, in Japan’s opinion, it was not appropriate for the Council to discuss such political issues.
70. Mr. Loosdrecht (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union, the candidate countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia, the countries of the stabilization and association process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the European Free Trade Association country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, expressed deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories and called on Israel, in line with Security Council resolution 1544 (2004), to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians. Israel should facilitate the movement of Palestinian people and goods and access by international humanitarian organizations into the territories, remove outposts, reverse the settlement activity and end land confiscation. While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence and to protect its citizens the European Union noted that that right must be exercised in consonance with international law.
71. The European Union expressed concern at the continuing violence affecting both Israelis and Palestinians. It repeated its call for an end to terrorist attacks by extremist groups. It called on the Palestinian Authority to take action against those involved in terrorism and on Israel to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.
72. The European Union welcomed the outcome of the Quartet meeting held in New York on 4 May and 24 July 2004. It also welcomed the renewal of the Beirut Peace Initiative of the League of Arab States and the League’s rejection of acts of violence against civilians without discrimination. The World Bank’s Trust Fund was a commendable initiative worth supporting by the international community.
73. The European Union welcomed the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which would represent a significant step towards the implementation of the road map. It reaffirmed its belief that the road map represented the only route to achieving a negotiated two-State solution, and called for renewed efforts towards a comprehensive ceasefire.
74. Ms. Price (Canada) said that her country was gravely concerned by the current humanitarian, economic and social situation in the Palestinian territories. While Canada affirmed Israel’s right to security, the construction of a barrier inside the occupied territory of the West Bank and East Jerusalem would work against a negotiated solution and exacerbate the dire humanitarian and economic situation of the Palestinian people. Widespread closures and curfews, limits on freedom of movement and impeded humanitarian access to those in need had contributed to the decline in the living conditions and poverty of Palestinians. Israel must help to improve that situation. Although Canada had voted in favour of the resolution, it questioned whether the Council was the most appropriate forum to consider the issue. The Palestinian Authority must implement reforms in the security sector and use all available means to combat terrorism. It had an interest to develop strong and accountable institutions that would advance the development and address the humanitarian needs of its people. Canada would readily assist in the negotiations for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and hoped that both parties would abide by their commitments under the Road Map sponsored by the Quartet.
75. Mr. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution because the Council needed to be guided by the General Assembly resolutions reaffirming the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to their own natural resources and calling on Israel not to exploit or threaten those resources in the occupied territories. The position of his delegation was reflected in the road map of the Quartet and opposed any unilateral action that would jeopardize the peace process. It was regrettable that the issue had distracted the Council from focusing on its mandate to coordinate the social and economic development activities of the United Nations system.
76. Mr. Sermoneta (Observer for Israel) said that by singling out one party and calling on it to take unilateral action, the draft resolution was prejudging the outcome of negotiations and straying from the original focus of the living conditions of the Palestinians to extraneous issues like settlements in Jerusalem. Israel felt it incumbent on all Member States of the Organization to desist from past policies of condemnation through one-sided resolutions fraught with ambiguity. When two parties should be working together to achieve peace, such finger-pointing resolutions only drove them further apart. The continued violence and corruption of the Palestinian leadership had arrested progress. The violence on the ground was not resolved by the adoption of such wording. Nor did it alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, let alone, bring peace any closer. Only an end to terrorism and incitement to terrorism could accomplish that.
77. Mr. Sabbagh (Observer for Syria) said that the support given to the draft resolution proved the commitment of the international community to the peace process in the Middle East and its understanding of the grave threat that the policies of the Israeli Government posed to that peace, through disregard for the resolutions of the United Nations and violation of international norms. The international community had to assume its responsibility and to establish a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in conformity with resolutions calling for international legitimacy and the total withdrawal of the Israeli forces from all the occupied territories to the lines of June 1967.
78. He invited the Council to take note of the report of the Secretary-General (A/59/89-E/2004/21).
79. It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.
Corrections to this record should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.