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        General Assembly
24 December 2007

Original: English

Sixty-second session
Official Records

Second Committee

Summary record of the 28th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 16 November 2007, at 3 p.m.

Chairperson: Mr. Le Roux (Vice-Chairperson) .............................................................................................. (South Africa)


Agenda item 41: 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 ( continued)


In the absence of the Chairperson, Mr. Le Roux (South Africa), Vice-Chairperson, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

Agenda item 41: 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 (continued) (A/C.2/62/L.7/Rev.1)

Draft resolution on 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

1. The Chairperson said that the draft resolution had no programme budget implications.

2. Mr. Tag-Eldin (Egypt) said that the sponsors wished to revise the fifteenth preambular paragraph of the draft resolution. After the words, “the dismantlement of settlements therein”, the words “as a step towards the implementation of the road map” should be added.

3. The Chairperson noted that a recorded vote had been requested on the issue.

4. Mr. Ali (Syrian Arab Republic) asked which delegation had requested the recorded vote.

5. The Chairperson replied that it had been the United States of America.

6. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, P oland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.


Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Tonga.

7. Draft resolution A/C.2/62/L.7/Rev.1, as orally revised, was adopted by 143 votes to 7, with 5 abstentions.*

8. Mr. Silvestre (Portugal), speaking in explanation of vote on behalf of the European Union; the candidate countries Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey; the stabilization and association process countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia; and, in addition, Iceland, Norway and Moldova, said that the European Union countries had voted in favour of the draft resolution in the belief that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power. It wished, however, to explain its interpretation of certain aspects of the text.

9. The European Union reaffirmed the applicability to the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and also reaffirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to that Convention was illegal. However, the issues referred to in the resolution were matters which needed to be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East peace process. The European Union remained committed — in close cooperation with its partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world — to assisting the parties in their efforts to find a final settlement to the Middle East conflict. The text just adopted must therefore not be considered as prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of those negotiations. The position of the European Union regarding the separation barrier and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory remained unchanged.

10. M r. Sermoneta (Israel) said that the draft resolution, adopted annually, did not advance the prospects for peace or truly attempt to deal with shared natural resources, which had always been an issue negotiated bilaterally between parties to a conflict. Rather, it was a purely political instrument to perpetuate the inaccurate information campaign regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, serving thereby to disparage and ostracize the State of Israel. The text represented an abuse of the Second Committee’s mandate, and it was unfortunate that those who adhered to a myopic political agenda continued to suppress the important priorities of the Committee. Ultimately, the ideals of the Organization — integrity, fairness, and effectiveness — were likewise damaged.

11. An important process of direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had already been set in motion; the draft resolution undermined that process and prejudged issues to be addressed in the negotiations. Most egregiously, it failed to reflect the reality on the ground. For example, a sewage project, under the direction of the World Bank, was being constructed in Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip to alleviate the strain on the existing cesspools near the village. More than 230 Palestinian trainees in fields such as public health, small business, agriculture, and educational planning and empowerment of women and youth were currently enrolled in projects sponsored by Israel through its Centre for International Cooperation. The reality was also that Israel had released approximately $250 million in tax and customs revenues, with the remaining sum (nearly $250 million) to be transferred by the end of the year, in accordance with Palestinian wishes. The draft resolution was a political tool manipulated by a handful of Member States whose sole mission was to discredit and demonize Israel. It had been adopted because it was, apparently, much easier to blame Israel than to work towards tangible results.

12. The Palestinians needed to take responsibility for preserving their natural resources and promoting their economic development. But they were so busy fighting Israel — and each other — that they forgot the basic fact that first and foremost the natural resources were theirs to protect. While Israel was working to improve Palestinian development, the Palestinians themselves, through third parties, supported repetitive and irrelevant resolutions that merely paid lip service to their cause. The Israel delegation had voted against the resolution, whose one-sided language and perspective not only failed to contribute to the positive atmosphere on the ground but actually jeopardized that progress.

13. Mr. Bowman (Canada) said that Canada strongly believed that the protection of and right to natural resources were critical to the social and economic viability of any future Palestinian State, and was also concerned about the humanitarian conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Nonetheless, Canada was disappointed that the draft resolution did not provide a balanced assessment of the situation and therefore, as it did not contribute constructively to the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, had decided to vote against it.

14. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine) thanked the Member States that had voted in favour of the draft resolution, thereby reaffirming the commitment of the international community had to international law and the rights established therein, and sending a clear message to the Palestinian people that the international community stood by them and their inalienable right to a life of dignity and prosperity, in which their natural resources would be employed for their benefit.

15. A people’s permanent sovereignty over its natural resources was part of its inalienable right to self-determination as established by international law, and must be safeguarded by the international community, in the interests of peace and stability. The draft resolution just adopted provided such legal and moral protection.

16. Claiming that such resolutions were irrelevant was an assault on the will of the international community, which had repeatedly tried to uphold international law and the principles for which the United Nations stood. The adoption of the draft resolution was repeated annually only because of the belligerence of the Israeli occupying Power. The accusations that its adoption was irrelevant to the principles of the United Nations and the obligations of its Members reflected the bankruptcy of the accuser, which had run out of excuses and justifications for continuing to flout the will of the international community and the laws by which that community stood.

17. Additionally, the vote reflected the international community’s overwhelming support for holding all States to the same standards and responsibilities, clearly demonstrating that no Member of the Organization was above international law.

18. The reality on the ground was a disaster owing to Israel’s illegal destructive and expansionist policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While the Israeli representative had claimed that the Palestinians were too busy fighting Israel and fighting each other, he needed to be reminded that Israel was an occupier. The Palestinian people had been struggling for 40 years, and continued to struggle, to end the illegal brutal occupation. That occupation continued to illegally exploit and destroy the resources of the occupied people, as well as stripping them of their most basic rights and dignity. It was baffling, therefore, to hear statements defending the occupation and attacking any modest attempt to stand up to its transgressions. Such a regime should be confronted, not tolerated and supported.

* The delegations of Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Georgia, Peru and Uganda subsequently informed the Secretariat that they had intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution.


The meeting rose at 3.50 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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