The General Assembly this afternoon condemned Israel's failure to comply with its demands that it immediately cease building a new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem and demanded that it immediately cease and reverse all illegal actions taken against Palestinian Jerusalemites.
By a vote of 131 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 14 abstentions, the Assembly also demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, make available information about goods produced or manufactured in the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. (For details of vote, see annex.)
Also by today's resolution, the Assembly recommended that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in time of war convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and to ensure respect for it.
The Assembly was meeting in a resumption of its tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. In adopting today's resolution, it also recommended that Member States actively discourage activities that directly contribute to the construction of or development of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The Assembly also decided to adjourn its emergency session temporarily and to authorize the Assembly President to resume the meetings upon request from Member States.
Addressing the content of the resolution, the representative of the United States said it would undermine the confidence of negotiators and demand such economic measures as a partial boycott of Israel, which would not help the peace process. Further, a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention was not a proper forum for discussing the Middle East peace process. That should be left to the parties.
The representative of Israel said the resolution represented a step backwards to the dark ages and would not help the peace process. Such a path had been taken in vain by its Arab neighbours.
As a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Convention, Canada would consider convening a conference after consultations with others, its representative said. Canada's believed that the Convention did apply to the occupied territories.
Speaking for the European Union and associated States, the representative of Luxembourg reiterated that settlements in the occupied territories contravened international law, constituted a major obstacle to peace and violated the Fourth Geneva Convention. Recent events in Hebron had shown the urgent need for both sides to abstain from unilateral actions that might prejudge permanent status issues and to resume security cooperation.
The representative of Iraq said that Israel's violations of international law would not continue if it did not have the protection of a super-Power. The use of the veto power by the United States to shield Israel in the Security Council was an example of that country's double standards.
Also speaking in this afternoon's debate were the representatives of Algeria, Djibouti, Jordan, Malta, Mauritania, Syria, Iran, Singapore, Luxembourg, Russian Federation, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Namibia, Botswana, Turkey, Guyana, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Viet Nam.
The representative of Indonesia introduced the draft resolution. Speaking in explanation of vote were Israel, Mexico, Russian Federation, Uruguay, Norway, Canada, Liberia, Turkey, Syria, Japan and Rwanda. The Permanent Observer for Palestine also spoke.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its resumed tenth emergency special session, which is considering the illegal Israeli activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the situation (documents A/ES-10/6-S/1997/494 and Corr.1) and a related draft resolution (document A/ES-10/L.2). (For background information, see Press Release GA/9280 of 15 July.)
ABDULLAH BAALI (Algeria) said he supported the statement delivered this morning by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group. The Secretary-General's report revealed Israel's intransigence in the face of appeals by the international community. Israel had obstructed the Secretary-General's envoy from conducting his mission. The report covered settlements in the occupied territories, confiscation of land and other illegal measures, including Israel's denial of the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories.
News arrived each day about confrontations between unarmed Palestinian citizens and the Israeli armed forces, he said. Acquisition of land by force and the desecration of sanctuaries were antithetical to peace. The peace process had moved backwards since the present Israeli Administration took power. The actions of that Administration defied the basis upon which the peace process had been established. Earlier hopes for peace had now been replaced by suspicion and disappointment.
The international community must impose respect for international law, he said. It must shift from sterile condemnation and exert real pressure, so as to ensure respect for Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said the emergency session's resumption had been inevitable, owing to the rising tensions in the Middle East and because the Palestinians had nowhere else to turn to but to the United Nations. The draft resolution before the Assembly was the least that could be asked from the Organization, in view of Israel's refusal to obey its demands. There was no alternative to that draft, which mainly repeated the demand that Israel should cease the construction of illegal settlements in Jebel Abu Ghneim, as well as other illegal actions.
The call for a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention was timely and necessary, he said. No States in the world advocated Israeli occupation and the building of settlements, actions that should be stopped. Yet, despite Israeli stonewalling, there was desire for peace in the Arab world. Peace should be based on equality and on common benefits for both sides.
HASAN ABU-NIMAH (Jordan) said the report of the Secretary-General discussed how the construction of settlements and the confiscation of the identity cards of Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem threatened the Middle East peace process. Jordan was concerned that Israel might not be committed to the peace process, which was necessary for progress in the area. Israeli dependence on the use of force would undermine that progress. Israel should reconsider such policies and remove the obstacles to peace.
Jordan's commitment to peace was unshakeable, but peace would not become a reality without the cooperation of Israel, he said. The Assembly, the European Union and the co-sponsors of the Middle East peace process should intensify their efforts to save that process, which was the only option left for the region. Peace should be based on the principle of land for peace, which should lead to a lasting and comprehensive settlement.
GEORGE SALIBA (Malta) said it was unfortunate that it had been necessary to resume the special emergency session because one Member State had gone against the will of the international community. The issue of the settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim had been at the centre of attention since the beginning of this year. Calls had been made for a restoration of the peace process and demands had been made for respect of agreements and accords. The international community had mandated the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the situation on the ground, but his attempt to dispatch a special envoy had been thwarted.
He said the Secretary-General's report had demonstrated the political, geographical, demographic and economic implications of Israel's refusal to abandon construction of the new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim. It also expressed concern over the revoking of Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem, the non-acceptance by Israel of the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the prolonged closures and administrative detention of Palestinians in Israeli jails. Malta joined the international community in calling on Israel to cease the building of settlements, as well as of other activities which sought to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem.
OULD DEDACH (Mauritania) said that all Member States were bound by the principles of the Charter as well as Assembly resolutions. Mauritania was committed to international legality. The peace process in the Middle East was being threatened. Mauritania supported the immediate cessation of settlements, as well as the holding of an international conference on the Fourth Geneva Convention. Any real and lasting peace in the region would be impossible without the Palestinian people being able to enjoy an independent and sovereign State, with its capital Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Relevant Security Council and Assembly resolutions must be respected and implemented. International cooperation was required to ensure peace in the region.
FAROUK AL-ATTAR (Syria) said the unanimous will of the Member States had not deterred Israel from continuing its aggressive expansionist policy. Every day, Israel's illegal activities increased. The Council's failure to stop that aggression confirmed the importance of action by the Assembly. The resolution adopted at the previous meetings of the special session had called on Israel to cease its illegal settlement activities. However, Israel had increased those activities in all the occupied territories, including the Golan.
He said Israel's illegal activities, including its continuing efforts to Judaize Jerusalem, were all part of a plan aimed at destroying the substance of the Madrid peace process. That plan aimed at avoiding the principle of land for peace, which had been the basis of resolution 242 (1967), upon which the Madrid process had been based. It was regrettable that Israel had not implemented any of the resolutions adopted by the Organization. It was now obvious that Israel did not seek a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
There were daily events that testified to the nature of Israeli terror, he said. Israel must no longer disregard international resolutions. The Israeli Prime Minister had declared that Israel would not give up its control of the Golan for strategic reasons. It was legitimate to stand against occupation. Israel occupation could not annul Arab sovereignty over the occupied territories. Syria had sought comprehensive and just peace, and continued to do so. He hoped that one day the whole region would live in peace.
KAMAL KHARRAZI (Iran) said the report of the Secretary-General had stated that the new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim would lead to the transfer of some 50,000 Jewish settlers into East Jerusalem, further altering he city's demographic character. Such attempts to change the basic characteristics of the Palestinian territories had always been an integral part of the Zionist grand design to perpetuate its occupation of Palestine. However, the construction of new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem had taken that policy a few steps forward. The report indicated that external support for the settlers and their economic infrastructures had continued. For instance, it was verified last June that a Days Inn Hotel, a franchise based in the United States, had been opened in a settlement in the Gaza Strip. Given such foreign support, one would conclude that Israel was bent on continuing its occupation of Palestine.
He said the Secretary-General had also reported continued and systematic inhumane practices by the Israeli regime, including the detention and torture of Palestinians, the sealing and demolition of houses, and prolonged closure of the territories. An increase in violent incidents involving settlers, as well as provocative measures taken by Zionists -- such as the blasphemous act of a Jewish settler against the holy prophet of Islam -- had caused agony and grave concerns throughout the Islamic world. The Assembly should condemn such heinous acts. At a time when the Security Council had failed to prevent the blatant violations of international law by Israel, the emergency session should consider further measures under the Charter to maintain international peace and security.
FOOK SENG KWOK (Singapore) said that while Israel had the right to build housing for its citizens in order to meet pressing needs for accommodations, its decision to do so in Jebel Abu Ghneim was controversial. That was because the city was subject to negotiations on its final status. It was also a city that was holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Therefore, Israel should cease the building of the settlements in order to allow the peace process in the region to resume. The only viable path to be followed should be a peace process based on the principles contained in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Singapore supported the pursuit of peace along those lines.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Leichtenstein. He expressed regret that the Assembly had needed to meet again to examine the question of illegal Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. The Union noted with concern the 25 April report of the Secretary- General, which stated that the Government of Israel had not abandoned its construction of a new Israeli settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim. It also stated that the expansion of existing settlements, the construction of bypass roads, the confiscation of land adjacent to settlements and related activities in violation of Security Council resolutions on the matter, continue unabated throughout the occupied territories".
The European Union was extremely concerned that construction work was continuing at Jebel Abu Ghneim/Har Homa, and that Israel had failed to respond to international appeals to immediately suspend that construction, he said. The Union wished to reiterate that settlements in the occupied territories contravened international law and constituted a major obstacle to peace. They also represented a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Events over the past few days in the occupied territories, particularly Hebron, had demonstrated the urgent need for both sides to show restraint, to abstain from unilateral action which might prejudge permanent status issues, and to resume security cooperation. The peace process was the only means whereby peace and security might be established in the region. The parties should resume dialogue, proceed with application of the interim agreement and the Hebron Agreement and resume permanent status talks.
ALEXANDRE S. GORELIK (Russian Federation) said it was particularly disappointing that the Israeli Government had ignored an unambiguous appeal by the international community to cease construction of a new neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, as well as its settlements in other Palestinian territories. The Secretary-General had reported that the construction of new settlements would change the demographic nature of East Jerusalem, isolate the city from the other Palestinian territories, negatively affect the region and damage the peace process in the Middle East. The Russian Federation regretted that the Secretary-General had not been able to dispatch his Special Envoy to collect information, since Israel had conditioned his trip with impracticable demands.
The road to the final status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories ran through negotiations, he said. True security could not be guaranteed by erecting concrete walls. The parties should abstain from unilateral actions likely to affect aspects of the final status issues. The decision by the Knesset to annex all Israeli settlements to Israel had poured more oil on the flames. The Government of Israel should put an immediate stop to the construction of the new neighbourhood in East Jerusalem and take the strain off the prevailing dangerous confrontation, so as to end the deadlock in the peace process.
AHMED ALI KALAZ (Yemen) said the Assembly was considering Israel's refusal to cooperate with the Secretary-General. Despite its obstruction of his intended mission, the Secretary-General had provided a useful report, which confirmed Israel's expansion settlement activities. Yemen condemned the Government of Israel for its refusal to respond to General Assembly resolutions. Israel's very legitimacy and existence was a result of a resolution of the Organization. Israel spoke of peace while undermining the principles that provided the foundation for the peace process.
The whole world had witnessed the Israeli actions that undermined the peace process, he said. Israel had broken agreements negotiated with the Palestinians. The Secretary-General's report reflected the brazenness of Israel's actions. Each day, the media provided frightening information about occurrences in the occupied territories. As one of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution before the Assembly, Yemen called on the international community to take effective measures to force Israel to observe its commitments and to comply with the basis of the peace process.
ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said that what was being seen today was a horrendous deterioration in the situation. Confrontation in the Arab occupied territories continued, threatening to ignite the wick of war in the region. The Secretary-General's report was an objective document which reflected the danger of Israeli settlement policies and its violations of United Nations resolutions. Israel's unjustified refusal to receive the Secretary-General's envoy had clearly shown its persistence in defying those resolutions.
A comprehensive, just and continuous peace in the Middle East would not be achieved unless Israel refrained from its settlement activities and policies and withdrew from all the occupied Arab territories in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon, he said. It should respect the inalienable rights of Palestinians, including their right to establish the State of Palestine and its capital, the "Holy Quds". His country condemned the illegal Israeli measures in East Jerusalem, which included practices against unarmed people and allowing armed settlers to terrorize the Palestinian people in order to evacuate them. It called on Israel to renounce those policies, which would draw the whole region to greater confrontation and instability.
ALI SUNNI MUNTASSER (Libya) said the international community was meeting to discuss the Zionist entity's disregard for international documents and laws. The shameful and inhuman acts committed by Israel had been decried by the international community, including through Security Council resolution 480 (1980). That resolution had stipulated that actions taken by the Zionist occupation authority, particulary those regarding Al-Quds Al-Sharif, were null and void.
A permanent member of the Security Council had used its veto power to prevent the Council from passing a resolution on those activities, he said. Israel's policy of humilation against Arab and Islamic nations could not be allowed to continue. The United States was encouraging Israel to challenge the United Nations. It was promoting Israeli policy and using silly excuses to prevent the Council from adopting an appropriate resolution. At the same time, issues not related to the Council were imposed on its agenda. Such double standards threatened the Organization's credibility.
The United Nations must be liberated from the hegemony of the United States, he said. Israel was being protected by one Member State. That bias would push the international community to use other means to put an end to Israel's illegal practices. Those who practised injustice would eventually reap the results.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said his Government was dismayed by Israel's refusal to allow the dispatch of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. That decision had demonstrated Israel's total disregard of the General Assembly's resolutions on Palestine. The international community should make a concerted effort to compel Israel to respect United Nations resolutions, particular Assembly resolution ES-10/2.
At April's meeting of the emergency special session of the General Assembly on occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories, governments had identified the immediate cessation of construction of the new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim as the first step towards consolidating the Middle East peace process, he said. Regrettably, Israel had continued to build new settlements. Those illegal activities constituted a major obstacle to peace. They violated both the letter and spirit of the Madrid Conference and the Oslo accords, as well as of the Geneva Convention. Peace could not co-exist with the acquisition of territory by force. All efforts should be made to compel the Government of Israel to abide by the commitments it made in the framework of the Madrid Conference and the Oslo accords.
LEGWAILA JOSEPH LEGWAILA (Botswana) said Israel's argument that the construction of settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim was a result of natural growth missed the point that Jerusalem was not an ordinary city. It was a disputed city and subject to negotiations. Why build settlements in East Jerusalem when talks on the status of the city were supposed to settle the issue once and for all? For the comatose peace process in the Middle East to reawaken, Israel and the Palestinians must feel they had a stake in it. The Palestinians, stateless for decades, must be made to feel that they would have a place to call their own. The Jewish people must be made to feel that the Middle East belonged to them too, and that they could live there freely and in peace. Such outcomes could be attained only if the advocates of war on both sides of the conflict were isolated and denied any excuse to persist in their murderous rampage.
TULUY TANC (Turkey) said Israeli settlement activities could change the parameters of the Middle East peace process. If completed, they would predetermine the outcome of ongoing talks between the two sides. Since such actions threatened the agreed principles on which the peace process rested, Israel should stop them. Turkey was making its position on the matter known at the bilateral level. He urged Israel to respect fully the sanctity and status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif under international law and to end its settlement activities in the occupied territories, particularly in Jebel Abu Ghneim.
SAMUEL R. INSANALLY (Guyana) said the worsening situation in the Middle East meant that the United Nations could neither withdraw nor remain aloof. Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories which violated United Nations resolutions must be condemned by the international community. Provocations to violence must be stopped and the rights of all States must be respected. Israel must recognize the rights of the Palestinians. Its own security concerns must also be addressed.
The draft resolution before the session was another message to the parties to resume the peace talks in good faith, he said. It must be seen as another attempt by the Assembly to preserve the peace process and to promote a definitive settlement of the Palestinian issue. In Guyana's view, its thrust conformed with the position adopted by the Non-Aligned Movement at its Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi last July. As a member of the Movement, Guyana would support the draft resolution.
NIZAR HAMDOON (Iraq) said Israeli violations of international law would not continue if that country did not have the feeling of impunity it acquired under the protection of a super-Power. The use of the veto by the United States in the Security Council had stopped that organ from taking action against Israel and had led to the convening of the Assembly's emergency special session. The action was an example of the double standard the United States applied in international relations. It should stop supporting Israeli actions that violated international law.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said the draft resolution before the Assembly would not encourage dialogue but would detract from the peace process. It would also make the work of the negotiating partners harder. Like many countries, the United States shared the concerns about Israeli decisions to begin the construction of settlements at Har Homa. Both parties must take care to avoid steps that might seem to pre-empt the outcome of the negotiations in the peace process.
He said the United States objected to the draft, which would undermine the confidence of the negotiators. It would demand such economic measures as a partial boycott of Israel, which would not help the peace process. The text should not threaten the participation of any Member State in the General Assembly. Further, a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention was not a proper forum to discuss the Middle East peace process. The parties should be left to iron out their differences. The draft would aggravate the dangers to the peace process. The United Nations could help the peace process by asking whether the special session and draft resolution would be useful. Since neither of them would, the United States would vote against the draft resolution.
MACHIVENYIKA T. MAPURANGA (Zimbabwe) said that in the first part of the emergency special session, his delegation had given its unreserved support to resolution ES-10/2, which called on Israel to abandon its construction of the new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim, as well as the expansion of existing settlements. Zimbabwe was disappointed that Israel had failed to comply with the demands of the international community. It was also regrettable that Israel had obstructed the Secretary-General's efforts to unblock the impasse.
When the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Council of Ministers met in Harare from 30 to 31 May this year, it passed a resolution which was subsequently endorsed by its Heads of State and Government, he said. The OAU had called on Israel to halt the construction in Abu Ghneim. It also called on countries that sponsored the peace process, other parties and the international community, to suspend all forms of assistance and support for the illegal activities being undertaken in occupied Palestinian territories. It also called for the freezing of relations with Israel at their present level, due to the gravity and urgency of the situation. Israel must abandon its policy of constructing settlements, as well as other policies and practices which tended to cast an ominous shadow over the peace process.
PHAM QUANG VINH (Viet Nam) said that the Assembly's current session marked the third time in the past four months that it had met to discuss the very important subject of illegal Israeli activity. Viet Nam had expressed concern that the continued construction of the Jebel Abu Ghneim settlement made the situation in the Middle East more volatile. It also violated international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
The United Nations had a crucial role to play in ensuring that the Palestinian people's inalienable rights were respected, he said. It was of utmost importance for the international community to intensify its efforts to restore and build confidence in the Middle East. Viet Nam urged all parties to resume contact on the basis of agreements reached and to continue to strive for peace.
BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said that on two consecutive occasions, the United States had cast a veto on a resolution on Israel, demonstrating a double standard in the Security Council. The Secretary-General's report had been clear about the consequences of actions in the occupied territories. Deliberately and increasingly, demographic changes were being implemented, and discrimination against the Palestinian people was becoming more severe.
The United Nations must take concrete action to ensure equity, he said. The international community must call on Israel to abide by the Assembly's 25 April resolution. Israel must cease its settlement activity in the occupied territory, as well as its repressive terrorist practices. The Organization must implement measures to protect the Palestinian population. The principles underlying the peace accords must be implemented. Cuba hoped that the current exercise would safeguard the peace process and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights.
Action on Draft Resolution
THOMAS SAMODRA SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia) introduced the revised draft resolution on behalf of its co-sponsors and read out some of its contents. The current version would reiterate the General Assembly's demand for immediate cessation of the construction of a new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim and that Israel immediately cease and reverse all actions taken illegally under international law against Palestinian Jerusalemites. The text would also demand that Israel, the occupying Power, make available to Member States the necessary information about goods produced or made in the illegal settlements in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem.
He said the draft resolution would also have the Assembly recommend that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian persons in time of war convene a meeting on measures to enforce that text in the occupied Palestinian territories and to ensure respect for it. The Secretary-General would be asked to submit a report on the matter in three months.
He then announced an oral draft revision to the revised text, by which the following words would be added at the end of operative paragraph 6: "as these activities contravene international law". The text would thus read: "Recommends to Member States that they actively discourage activities which directly contribute to any construction or development of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, as these activities contravened international law;".
The co-sponsors of the revised draft resolution are: Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam and Yemen.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan), speaking on a point of order, asked for clarification as to how the proposed changes to the revised text would be handled.
RAZALI ISMAIL (Malaysia), Assembly President, said that since the representative of Indonesia had explained the changes, the Assembly would proceed to a vote on the text.
Mr. OWADA (Japan) asked for a clarification of the changes that had been proposed to the revised text.
Mr. SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia) added that operative paragraph 6 would be extended by the addition of the phrase: "as these activities contravened international law".
Mr. RAZALI (Malaysia) said an editorial revision had also been orally made, adding the word "and" to operative paragraph 10, before the phrase "requests the Secretary-General to present a report on the matter within three months".
DAVID PELEG (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said the draft resolution would lead nowhere. It was taking a road that had been taken in vain by Israel's Arab neighbours. Calls for economic measures, threats to ostracize Israel in the United Nations, and the endless ritual of submitting one-sided reports would not help the peace process. The draft resolution was an invitation to step back into the dark ages of the past. Member States should join the efforts for peace by voting against it.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said dialogue was the way to avoid violence and end conflict. Various United Nations bodies had formulated resolutions whose implementation could have led to peace. Contrary to international law and resolutions, Israeli actions were holding up the peace process. At the same time, Mexico condemned terrorism, which could in no way be justified.
The Assembly was adopting a resolution which should be considered elsewhere, he said. His country acknowledged the political validity of the principle of land for peace, but would have preferred greater linguistic precision when it was being formulated as a judicial principle. Rights inherent to Member States could not be modified by the draft resolution. Mexico would vote in favour of the text.
Mr. GORELIK (Russian Federation) said his country favoured an immediate cessation of settlement activities. As for the draft under consideration, the revisions to it had made the text more balanced. Work to make the resolution more realistic could have continued. There was a lack of clarity in its provisions on the convening of a conference relating to the Fourth Geneva Convention, a matter that needed further refinement.
He said the Russian Federation had been prepared to cooperate in negotiations on the text. However, the hasty move to vote on it left him no alternative but to abstain.
JORGE PEREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) said his country opposed the Israeli activities, which were contrary to the peace process. Uruguay would support the draft resolution, since the construction of settlements had not been discontinued, despite the international community's expression of its will through several resolutions.
DAG WERNO HOLTER (Norway) said it was the obligation of the parties themselves to solve the present crisis in the Middle East peace process, through direct negotiations based on the Oslo agreements. However, Norway deeply regretted that Israel had not heeded the calls from its partners in peace and the international community to halt its settlement activities in the Palestinian areas, including East Jerusalem. Those activities were contrary to international law and to the spirit of agreements reached between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Despite its reservations, Norway would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said he would vote in favour of the draft resolution, owing to the absence of encouraging advances since the Assembly's previous resolution. Canada was deeply concerned about the absence of negotiations and did not recognize permanent Israeli control over the occupied territories. It was Canada's view that the Fourth Geneva Convention did apply to the occupied territories. As a High Contracting Party, Canada would consider the convening of a conference after further review and consultation with other High Contracting Parties.
FAMATTA ROSE OSODE (Liberia) said she would support the resolution, with certain reservations. Israel's actions were illegal and should be condemned, and it must desist from all such illegal actions. It was hoped that the Palestinian people's legitimate longing for freedom would become reality in the near future.
The General Assembly and the Security Council must exhibit impartiality on controversial subjects, she said. Israel and her Arab neighbours must exhibit good faith in their efforts for peace.
Mr. TANC (Turkey) said he would vote in favour of the draft resolution, since he supported its main thrust. However, the language of some of its paragraphs could have been improved.
The draft resolution was then adopted by 131 votes in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States), with 14 abstentions. (For voting details, see Annex.)
Mr. AL-ATTAR (Syria), speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said Israel was responsible for the impasse in the Middle East, as had been stated by various delegations.
Mr. OWADA (Japan) said the unfortunate situation in the Middle East had its roots in the conditions that followed the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the construction of settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim. Japan had voted for today's resolution after carefully considering the effect it would have on the Middle East peace process. However, the oral revision added to the end of operative paragraph 6 might lead to some imprecision, from the juridical point of view.
GIDEON KAYINAMURA (Rwanda) expressed regret that the Middle East peace process was not moving forward. Attempts to change the demography of East Jerusalem would not enhance that process. He would have liked to vote in favour of a resolution that would have inspired both parties to take action in the direction of peace. In the absence of such a resolution, he had no alternative but to abstain.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, Observer for Palestine, expressed appreciation to the resolution's sponsors, as well as to those who had supported it. Such support had not been an easy position for some States. The international community had pronounced its will clearly today. He reaffirmed the necessity of implementing the Assembly's resolutions.
Vote on Illegal Israeli Actions
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Andorra, Australia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Slovak Republic, Uzbekistan.
Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Belize, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Madagascar, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Tajikistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.