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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/C.4/52/SR.25
24 February 1998

Fifty-second session
Official Records

Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee)

Summary record of the 25th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 27 November 1996 at 11 a.m.


CONTENTS





The meeting was called to order at 11.10 a.m.

Agenda item 86: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (continued) (A/C.4/52/L.10* to L.16)

1. The Chairman announced that Australia, Romania and Sweden had become sponsors of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.11 and that Senegal had become a sponsor of draft resolutions A/C.4/52/L.10* and L.12-L.16.

2. Ms. Backes (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union, and introducing draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.10*, said that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was making an important contribution to the Middle East peace process and to stability in the region. The European Union paid tribute to the dedication of the staff of the Agency who, despite daily problems, were successfully carrying out their difficult task in assisting about 3.4 million Palestine refugees in the Middle East. As one of the main donors to UNRWA, the European Union was fully aware of the difficult financial situation of the Agency and called upon all countries to provide it with all possible financial support.

3. She briefly outlined the contents of the draft resolution and expressed the hope that, as in the past, the draft resolution would be supported by a large number of Member States.

4. Ms. van Daalen (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union and a number of other countries, and introducing draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.11, said that the financial situation of UNRWA remained very uncertain. There remained a serious risk that because of lack of funds, the Agency would not be able to carry out its basic functions. In that connection, in the fifth preambular paragraph, the word “persisting” should be added before the words “critical financial situation”.

5. She expressed the hope that, as in the past, the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

6. Mr. Sriyono (Indonesia), introducing on behalf of the sponsors draft resolutions A/C.4/52/L.12-L.16, said that the draft resolutions were concerned with various aspects of the complex problem of Palestine refugees, and also the important work of UNRWA.

7. He briefly outlined the contents of the draft resolutions and said that there was a typing error in the title of the English text of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.14, which should read: “Operations of the United Nations ...”. He expressed the hope that, if it was impossible to achieve consensus on the draft resolution, a large number of delegations would support it.

General comments on the draft resolutions

8. Mr. Terrier (France) said that a correction needed to be made to the French text of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.14, in which the title was missing.

9. Mr. Dlamini (Swaziland) said that the draft resolutions on agenda item 86 were concerned with humanitarian issues; he called on the Committee to adopt them by consensus.

10. Mr. Barg (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya advocated a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and affirmed that the establishment of an independent, democratic Palestinian State would put an end to the tragedy and the violent struggle between Arabs and
Jews.

11. Mr. Tourgeman (Israel) said that he shared the view of the representative of Swaziland that, essentially, the Committee was dealing with a humanitarian problem, although at the same time it was a political issue. Israel’s objections to the draft resolutions arose from the reference
in them to the right of Palestine refugees to return to Israel. On the one hand, Israel had reached agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to consider that issue in the negotiations on the final settlement of the problem, and on the other, an influx of Arab refugees into Israel would be a demographic time-bomb. For Israel it was a matter of life and death. His delegation therefore requested a recorded vote on the draft resolutions.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.10* entitled “Assistance to Palestine refugees”

12. The Chairman drew attention to the fact that the draft resolution had been reissued for technical reasons: Turkey had been removed from the list of sponsors, and Sweden had been added.

13. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.10*.

In favour: Against:
Abstaining:
14. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.10* was adopted by 126 votes to 1, with 2 abstentions.*

________
*The delegation of Bangladesh subsequently informed the
Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the
draft resolution.



Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.11 entitled “Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East”

15. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.11 was adopted.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.12 entitled “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities”

16. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.12.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
17. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.12 was adopted by 126 votes to 2.*

________
*The delegation of Bangladesh subsequently informed the
Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the
draft resolution.



Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.13 entitled “Offers by Member States of grants and scholarships for higher education, including vocational training, for Palestine Refugees”

18. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.13.

In favour: Against:
Abstaining:
19. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.13 was adopted by 129 votes to none, with 1 abstention.*

________
*The delegation of Bangladesh subsequently informed the
Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the
draft resolution.



Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.14 entitled “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East”

20. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.14.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
21. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.14 was adopted by 125 votes to 2, with 2 abstentions.*

________
*The delegation of Bangladesh subsequently informed the
Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the
draft resolution.



Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.15 entitled “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues”

22. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.15.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
23. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.15 was adopted by 127 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.16 entitled “University of Jerusalem ‘Al-Quds’ for Palestine refugees”

24. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.16.

In favour: Against:
Abstaining:
25. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.16 was adopted by 126 votes to 2, with 2 abstentions.


Explanations of vote

26. Ms. Nasser (Observer for Palestine) expressed appreciation to all the members of the Committee who had voted in favour of the draft resolutions. She reaffirmed the importance of continuous political support to the efforts to settle the problem of the Palestine refugees in addition to urgent financial support for UNRWA and assistance in its very important work, in accordance with the draft resolutions just adopted.

27. Mr. Yousefi (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolutions in documents A/C.4/52/L.10* and L.12-L.16, and had joined the consensus on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.11, but wished to make a reservation to those parts of the draft resolutions
which could be interpreted as recognition of the State of Israel.

28. Mr. Kohara (Japan) said that Japan had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.15. It supported the peace process and the multilateral consultations because it believed that the peace process was the only way of achieving peace and stability in the region, and it would maintain that
point of view in the future. Nevertheless, Japan’s vote on the draft resolution was without prejudice to its position on the permanent status negotiations, since the draft resolution touched on issues which were to be taken up in those negotiations.

29. The Chairman said that the Committee had concluded its consideration of agenda item 86.


Agenda item 87: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (continued) (A/52/131 and Adds.1-2, A/52/550, A/52/551, A/52/552, A/52/553, A/C.4/52/L.17-L.21)

30. Mr. Ka (Senegal) stressed that responsibility for the very sharp deterioration of the situation in the occupied Arab territories in recent months lay partly with the occupying Power, which had placed many obstacles in the way of peace. The report of the Special Committee demonstrated that the pursuit of the settlement policy by the occupying Power was calling in question the obligations it had assumed and was dealing a devastating blow to the peace process, which had given rise to so much hope in the world. Among the illegal measures that were being taken by the occupying Power, the following were significant: the start of construction of 6,500 housing units on the Jabal Abu Ghneim hill; the confiscation of land, and also of the identity cards of hundreds of Palestinians; the limitation of the freedom of movement of Palestinians, and restrictions on their religious freedom and their right to education; the destruction of Palestinian homes, the use of methods of collective punishment and punitive raids against the civilian population; arbitrary arrests, torture of prisoners and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories.

31. Recently other discriminatory measures had been adopted too. Some of them were designed to change the demographic structure and social composition of the population in the occupied territories. Those provocative measures inevitably led to serious incidents, sometimes with fatal consequences, between the Palestinian population and the Jewish settlers. In that connection, the international community must immediately put an end to that policy and accelerate the withdrawal of the occupying forces. The stalemate situation could increase tension in the occupied territories, and that would be to the advantage of the enemies of peace. Now as never before, in the interests of preserving peace, the sponsors of the peace process must once again make efforts to build trust. The implementation of the relevant General Assembly resolutions on the question of Palestine and the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, must be ensured.

32. The Chairman announced that Brunei Darussalam had become a sponsor of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.18 and Pakistan had become a sponsor of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.21.

33. Mr. Núñez-Mosquera (Cuba), introducing the draft resolutions in documents A/C.4/52/L.17-L.21, expressed appreciation to the Chairman of the Special Committee for the report submitted and said that the complex situation in the occupied territories, described in the report, required even more active efforts by the international community to promote the peace process and demonstrated the importance of the work carried out by the Special Committee. He briefly outlined the contents of the draft resolutions and expressed the hope that they would be adopted by an overwhelming majority.

General comments on the draft resolutions

34. Mr. Dlamini (Swaziland) said that one of the principles of the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Swaziland was to carry out missions of good offices. On the basis of that principle, Swaziland believed that the parties in the Middle East conflict should sit down at the negotiating table and review the agreements signed between them.

35. His delegation would abstain in the vote on all the draft resolutions before the Committee since it felt that the time for adopting resolutions condemning the actions of the parties had already passed. It wanted the resolutions to contain an appeal to the parties to start talks, as in Madrid, to seek a definitive solution, which was the goal of the United Nations. Swaziland also appealed to all Member States to put moral pressure on the parties to sit down at the negotiating table.

36. Mr. Islam (Pakistan) said that his delegation unconditionally recognized all the rights of the Palestinians, including their right of self-determination, and supported the peace process in the Middle East.

37. It shared the concern of other delegations about the suspension of the peace process, especially in relation to the Syrian Golan and Lebanon. Pakistan found it regrettable that Security Council resolution 497 (1981) had not been implemented and that Israel was persisting unimpeded in its efforts to change the physical nature, demographic composition, organizational structure and legal status of the Syrian Golan, particularly settlement building. In that connection, his delegation announced its decision to join the sponsors of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.21.

38. Mr. Zaki (Egypt) said that Egypt, as one of the sponsors of the draft resolutions, wished to point out that there was not a word of condemnation of anybody in them.

39. Mr. Dlamini (Swaziland), speaking in explanation of his delegation’s position, said that words of condemnation in draft resolutions were not appropriate in the context of agenda item 87.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.17 entitled “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

40. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.17.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
41. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.17 was adopted by 67 votes to 2, with 60 abstentions.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.18, entitled “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories

42. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.18.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
43. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.18 was adopted by 124 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions.

Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.19 entitled “Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan

44. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution
A/C.4/52/L.19.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
45. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.19 was adopted by 122 votes to 2, with 4 abstentions.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.20 entitled “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem”

46. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.20.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
47. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.20 was adopted by 124 votes to 2, with 4 abstentions.


Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.21 entitled “The occupied Syrian Golan”

48. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.21.

In favour:
Against:
Abstaining:
49. Draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.21 was adopted by 121 votes to 1, with 6 abstentions.


Explanations of vote

50. Mr. Millar (Australia) said that his delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.19 since it fully supported the principles set forth therein. At the same time, his delegation had reservations about the reference in the second preambular paragraph of the draft resolution and the similar reference in the first preambular paragraph of draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.20 to the resolutions of the emergency special session, since his delegation had abstained in the votes on those resolutions.

51. Ms. Backes (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, as in the past, the members of the European Union had abstained in the vote on draft resolution A/C.4/52/L.17 while they had supported the other draft resolutions on the agenda item under consideration. The European Union believed that the problems with which the Special Committee was dealing would be better considered in other forums more in keeping with the spirit of compromise and mutual understanding without which genuine peace in the region could not be achieved. The European Union wished to reaffirm that it was still deeply committed to the peace process, which was the only means of establishing lasting peace and security in the region.

52. Mr. Yousefi (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that, while his delegation had voted in favour of draft resolutions A/C.4/52/L.17-21, it wished once again to express its reservations concerning those parts of the draft resolutions which could be interpreted as recognition of the State of Israel.

53. Mr. Wehbe (Syrian Arab Republic) expressed appreciation to those countries which had supported and
adopted the draft resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan and said that the results of the vote reflected support for the principles of legality, the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant United Nations resolutions. Moreover, the results of the vote testified to the deep concern over the deadlock in the peace process. The draft resolutions had a humanitarian aspect and were not purely political.

54. Mr. Nasser (Observer for Palestine) said that his delegation wished once again to state that it was convinced of the need for the Special Committee’s continued existence; the further deterioration of the situation clearly testified to that. Israel must cease its policy and practice of violating of international law, international humanitarian law and therelevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The work of the Special Committee would continue to be of great importance until the Israeli occupation came to an end.

55. Mr. Tourgeman (Israel) said that the adoption of extremist and one-sided resolutions had no influence on the real state of affairs. Those resolutions did not help to create the peaceful and constructive climate which was so necessary for the conduct of negotiations.

56. The Chairman said that the Committee had concluded its consideration of agenda item 87.

/...

The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.

____________
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.


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