Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
Agenda item 40
The situation in the Middle East
Reports of the Secretary-General (A/55/538, A/55/639)
Draft resolutions (A/55/L.49, A/55/L.50)
The President: I give the floor to the representative of Egypt to introduce draft resolutions A/55/L.49 and A/55/L.50.
Mr. Aboulgheit (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic): I should like to introduce the two draft resolutions proposed under agenda item 40, A/55/L.49, entitled “Jerusalem”, and A/55/L.50, entitled “The Syrian Golan”.
Lebanon and Togo have joined in sponsoring draft resolution A/55/L.49.
The preambular part of draft resolution A/55/L.49 recalls the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on the question of Jerusalem, all of which reaffirm that all the legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel with a view to changing or attempting to change the status of the city of Jerusalem are null and void and must be reversed. It also recalls Security Council 478 (1980), which reaffirms the unacceptability of the “basic law” declared by Israel. Draft resolution A/55/L.49 calls on all States with diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw them.
With regard to the procedural aspects of the draft resolution, the General Assembly notes, in paragraph 1, that Israel’s decision to impose its laws and administrative procedures is illegal and, therefore, null and void. In paragraph 2, the General Assembly deplores the decision of some States to move their embassies to Jerusalem. The draft resolution also calls upon all States to abide by their commitments in accordance with the provisions of the relevant resolutions and of the Charter.
I am pleased to inform the General Assembly that Malaysia, Pakistan and Togo have joined in sponsoring draft resolution A/55/L.50, entitled “The Syrian Golan”. The preambular part of the draft resolution recalls Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and reaffirms the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, in accordance with the provisions of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. It also reaffirms the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied Syrian Golan.
The draft resolution also expresses deep concern over Israel’s failure to withdraw from the Syrian Golan, in contravention of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and again stresses the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan. The last preambular paragraph expresses grave concern over the halt in the peace process on the Syrian track, and the hope that peace talks will soon resume from the point where they left off.
On the procedural aspects, the General Assembly would declare in paragraph 1 that Israel has failed to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and in paragraph 2 that the Israeli decision of 1981 to impose its laws on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void, and would call upon Israel to rescind it. The draft resolution also reaffirms the continued applicability of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the Syrian territories occupied in 1967. It also determines that the continued occupation of Syrian territories constitutes a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
In addition, in paragraph 5 the draft resolution calls on Israel to resume the talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and to respect the commitments and undertakings reached during the previous talks. Paragraph 7 calls upon all the parties concerned and the sponsors of the peace process to make the necessary efforts to resume the peace process and to ensure its success by implementing Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
In my statement before the General Assembly yesterday, I presented the basic elements of my country’s position with regard to the question of Palestine and the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating track in the peace process. Today I would like to present the basic elements of the Egyptian position with regard to the situation in the Middle East in general.
While Egypt considers the question of Palestine to be the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the key to lasting peace in the Middle East, it also considers that achieving comprehensive peace in the region requires, as a basic condition, that Israel’s use of the logic of peace should not be restricted to speech, but rather should be expressed through the actual implementation of the basic rules and principles agreed upon, foremost of which is the principle of land for peace. In this context, our view is that any settlement that could be reached between Israel and the Arab parties should be based on several equally important elements — namely, full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and the establishment of mutual and equitable security arrangements, then the establishment of normal relations between the Arab parties and Israel. Until such a formula containing all these important elements is reached, we would like to reassert the need for Israel to avoid taking any unilateral steps on the ground, in contravention of the provisions of international law and of United Nations resolutions, that may threaten the negotiations and void them of their meaning.
Arab participation in the 1991 Madrid Conference and in later stages of the negotiating process was based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967), as the major cornerstone of the peace process on all its tracks. In this regard, I would like to state that the peace that Egypt established with Israel more than 20 years ago was based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and hence on the principle of land for peace. It therefore set an essential precedent — I repeat, an essential precedent — for achieving a peaceful settlement between the Arab parties concerned and Israel. That in turn places a special responsibility on Egypt, compelling it to rely constantly on the foundations of peace that it established with Israel. These foundations are the following: first, full withdrawal from all territories occupied by force in 1967 by the Israeli armed forces; secondly, clearing these occupied territories of all Israeli settlements; thirdly, establishing mutual and equitable security arrangements agreed to by both parties, with such arrangements not being reached under the weight of occupation; and fourthly, the establishment of normal peace relations between the two States concerned, meaning Israel and any other Arab State. Egypt believes that these bases, which represent the well-known formula of the principle of land for peace, should be applicable to peace between Israel and other Arab parties concerned.
In this regard, Egypt affirms that the implementation of Security Council 242 resolution (1967) is an indivisible, integral whole. The Israeli claims that we have heard from time to time that that resolution can be applicable to one negotiating track and not to the other, or to certain Arab territories and not to all occupied Arab territories, are totally unacceptable, because they have no legal basis and display a lack of proper understanding of resolution 242 (1967), which does not distinguish either in spirit or in letter between the territories occupied by Israel by force in 1967, whether in Sinai, the Syrian Golan or the West Bank and Gaza. All of the territories that were occupied by Israel should be evacuated.
This is the principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the principle that the United Nations has applied since its inception. It is the only principle on which comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East can be founded.
Egypt deeply regrets the halting of the Syrian-Israeli negotiations in the wake of the failure of the Geneva summit held last May between the late Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad and United States President Clinton. It was a failure to achieve a settlement that would have given Syria all of its occupied territories and would have guaranteed a return to the borders of 4 June 1967. I would like to reaffirm our unwavering position in support of Syria’s full right to regain the Golan without any conditions, this being the only means for establishing peace between Syria and Israel. I would also like to state that Israel’s commitment to seriously and sincerely negotiating for the realization of peace should encompass all tracks at the same level, without distinction and without any attempt to use one track against the other. Egypt believes there is a link between progress on the various bilateral negotiating tracks and regional cooperation in all its aspects.
The desire to establish peace in the Middle East is an integral whole. There can be no talk now of normal relations between Israel and any other Arab party outside that clear understanding. We quite honestly believe that the final communiqué of the Extraordinary Arab Summit hosted by Egypt in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000 was very clear in that regard. In this context, I would like to quote the following from that document: