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Draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.54: The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
74. The Chair said that the draft resolution had no programme budget implications.
75. Mr. Selim (Egypt) said that since the introduction of the draft resolution, Belarus, Belize, Chile, Congo, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Seychelles, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Ukraine and the United Republic of Tanzania had joined the sponsors. The sponsorship of the draft resolution by 142 Member States reflected the wide support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, as enshrined in international law and human rights instruments. Self-determination was a right, not a gift, and Palestinians had long awaited international recognition of their rights and backing for an end to Israeli occupation and exploitation of their land. He hoped that Member States would send strong a message of solidarity by adopting the resolution by consensus, thereby contributing to the ultimate realization of the long overdue right to self-determination, with the establishment of a sovereign and viable State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
76. Mr. Gustafik (Secretary of the Committee) announced that Barbados, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guyana had joined the sponsors.
77. Ms. Furman (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that history had shown that peace must be negotiated from within. Only Israelis and Palestinians, together, could make the difficult compromises needed; only they could create two neighbouring States for two peoples living in lasting peace and security.
78. Despite repeated calls by Israel’s Prime Minister for a resumption of direct bilateral negotiations without preconditions, Palestinian leaders had continually placed conditions. Eagerly taking their message to world leaders while refusing discussions with Israel, they were more interested in advancing anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations than in negotiating peace, as evidenced by the current resolution. Israel had consistently demonstrated its willingness to recognize Palestinian aspirations for self-determination; the Palestinians had yet to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and its right to peace and security.
79. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, uprooting thousands from their homes, had given the Palestinians an opportunity to bring prosperity to the Gaza Strip, to make Palestinian self-determination a reality. Instead, the bloody coup by the terrorist organization, Hamas, had transformed Gaza into an Iranian outpost for terror, whence, over ten years, more than 13,000 Hamas rockets had been fired into nearby Israeli communities, terrorizing one million civilians. That group’s actions proved that its desire for the destruction of Israel outweighed its regard for the Palestinian people; by unconditionally embracing Hamas, the Palestinian Authority effectively embraced the consequences of terror.
80. While it was much easier to criticize Israel from afar than to negotiate with it in Jerusalem, that would not benefit the Palestinian people in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and Gaza. Israel would vote against the resolution but did not oppose Palestinian self-determination and supported the two-State solution. Clearly, the sponsors were not truly in favour of such a solution; otherwise they would urge Palestinian leaders to stop advancing futile resolutions and to start negotiating with Israel. The conflict would not be solved in New York, but in the Middle East. Israel called on the Palestinian leadership to abandon unilateralism and engage in negotiations.
81. At the request of Israel, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.54.
83. Mr. Diaz Bartolomé (Argentina) said that his delegation welcomed the adoption of the draft resolution and expressed the hope that it would lead to the prompt realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and to an independent State of Palestine. Argentina recognized the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and had voted in favour of the resolution, just as it had recognized Palestine as a State in 2010, in a reflection of its desire to promote negotiation towards an end to the conflict and its deep desire for peaceful coexistence among all peoples. He confirmed Argentina’s unwavering support for the right of Israel to be recognized by all and to live in peace and security within its borders.
85. Mr. de Sellos (Brazil) reiterated Brazil’s support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. In a recent statement, Heads of State of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) had strongly condemned recent violence and disproportionate use of force which had led to loss of human life. The statement had also urged all parties to cease violence immediately, called for the admission of Palestine as an observer State and urged the Security Council to act according to its mandate and renew efforts to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
86. Brazil regretted Israel’s manifest lack of willingness to cooperate in implementing decisions of the Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territories; dialogue and cooperation were the only way forward. If other countries singled out by the Council showed similar disregard for its opinions, its effectiveness could be damaged. While he expressed concern for the safety of the Israeli population, the violations suffered by the Palestinians under occupation were a continued obstacle to peace. All parties must respect human rights and international humanitarian law for there to be enduring peace.
87. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that the large number of sponsors of the draft resolution was a testament to the support of the international community for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination — a right that had been brutally withheld under Israeli occupation. The overwhelming support sent a clear message to the occupying Power that its violations and contempt of international law would no longer be tolerated and that it was expected comply fully with all of its legal obligations. The resolution was not contrary to peace efforts; rather, it was complementary and vital. It must be reiterated that the right to self-determination had never been one of the permanent status issues, nor would it ever be. It was not to be negotiated, as the representative of the occupying Power would appear to suggest, but a given, inalienable right for all and the sole domain of the Palestinian people.
88. By voting against the resolution, Israel was sending a clear message to the Palestinians that it was not for peace or for the right to self-determination, but rather that it fiercely rejected a real peace settlement based on the existence of two States. For a just peace to be achieved, the basic right to self-determination must be mutually recognized by both parties. She recalled the Palestinian people’s historic recognition of Israel’s right to exist in 1988, in a compromise in which they agreed to a Palestinian State on only 22 per cent of its historic lands. In contrast, Israel continued to confiscate more and more land to build illegal settlements and its separation wall in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, further threatening a two-State solution. The occupying Power continued to violate all of the rights of Palestinian people, killing more than 100 civilians — including 13 women and 33 children — in renewed violence the previous week in Gaza.
89. Israel denied the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, denied Palestine its rightful place among the community of nations and rejected its peaceful efforts to advance the rights of its people. The time had come to hold Israel accountable to the United Nations Charter and the rule of international law to which it was held as a Member State — a privilege too long denied to Palestine and which it had grossly abused. Palestine would not surrender its legitimate national aspirations to realize its rights and achieve peace. The international community must unfailingly uphold the rule of law and not relent regarding Israel’s crimes and impunity. The forthcoming vote by the General Assembly on the status of Palestine would be an historic day that would bring the Palestinian people one step closer to achieving fully the ultimate goal of establishing an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.