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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
17 November 2011




General Assembly
GA/EF/3327

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

Sixty-sixth General Assembly
Second Committee
35th Meeting (PM)


SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT RELATING TO PERMANENT PALESTINIAN SOVEREIGNITY

OVER RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, OIL SLICK ON LEBANESE SHORES

Members also Pass Six Other Draft Resolutions, One Draft Decision

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Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on draft resolutions relating to the following agenda items: sustainable development, specifically the follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; operational activities for development, including South-South cooperation; and permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources. It was also expected to hear the introduction of draft resolutions on macroeconomic policy questions pertaining to international trade and development.

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The Committee then took up the draft on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian and other Arab populations in occupied lands over their natural resources (document A/C.2/66/L.22).

Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of Israel said the Committee continued to waste its time on the “unfortunate ritual”of discussing a “politicized and biased resolution”, instead of addressing major global challenges. The text undermined the Committee’s credibility as an impartial and professional body, and was part of a wider effort to “institutionalize an anti-Israel narrative within the United Nations”. Such matters did not fall within the Committee’s mandate, she said, adding that the text overlooked the progress made by her country and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel worked to preserve and protect the natural environment but the text overlooked agreements reached and coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, she said, adding that if other delegates truly cared about sustainable development, they would engage in sincere and constructive dialogue. She called for direct negotiations, saying that her country remained ready to share its knowledge and experience to face common challenges relating to climate change, desertification, land degradation and others so as to meet the growing needs of people in the region.

The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Panama, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu).

The representative of Australia expressed strong support for Palestine’s sovereignty, saying his country was taking practical steps, including donating $300 million over the next five years. Australia had changed its negative vote to an abstention, instead of supporting the text, because it did not recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs. Australia was committed to the peace process and to a negotiated two-State solution, he said, urging the two sides to return to direct talks as a matter of urgency.

The representative of Syria’s said Israel continued to accuse the Committee of being politicized despite the subject falling within its mandate. Israeli practices were in violation of the principles of international law and United Nations resolutions, he said, adding that its occupation continued to deprive Palestinians of decent living standards. The text added to many others expressing the anger of the great majority of the international community against the Israeli Government’s practices and its failure to uphold its commitments under international law, he said. The draft’s adoption sent a clear message that Israel should stop violations of international law, and the Committee should continue to highlight its illegitimate exploitation of Arab resources and its negative effects on the population.

Making a general statement, the Observer for Palestine said the draft reaffirmed the Palestinian right to sovereignty over their natural resources, which were its path to growth and development. It once again reminded Israel, the occupying Power, of the international community’s position, which rejected the occupation of Palestinian territory. It called upon Israel to cease violations of international resolutions and norms, its heinous exploitation and theft of land and water, and its destruction of agriculture and the environment. He thanked Egypt for submitting the text and thanked and saluted the States that had voted in its favour. Passing the draft resolution renewed the international demand that Israel align with international law and resolutions and end its occupation, he said, adding that it also reaffirmed Palestinians’ right to sovereignty over their own natural resources.

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For information media • not an official record

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