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Agenda item 69: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued ) (A/C.3/62/L.63)
Draft resolution A/C.3/62/L.63: The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
16. The Chairman said that the draft resolution contained no programme budget implications.
17. Mr. Attiya (Egypt) said that the large number of sponsors reflected the importance the international community attached to helping the Palestinian people to break free from occupation and realize their inalienable and long-overdue right to self-determination. He hoped that the draft resolution would translate into a larger United Nations engagement in the Middle East peace process, in the context of the Quartet and confidence-building efforts, with a view to attaining a genuinely negotiated settlement towards a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. An unequivocal show of solidarity at a time of need would be a first step towards liberating all peoples from each and every form of foreign control. Adoption of the draft resolution would also contribute to the establishment by the Palestinian people of an independent, sovereign and viable State on their own land, alongside Israel, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
18. Mr. Khane (Secretary of the Committee) noted that Andorra, Bolivia, Dominica, Ethiopia, Moldova, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Timor-Leste had joined the sponsors of the draft resolution.
19. Ms. Eilon Shahar (Israel), requesting a recorded vote, said that her delegation recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, but expected the Palestinians in turn to respect Israel’s right to peace and security. Israel accepted the two-State vision and had been actively promoting it for some time, as evidenced by a number of international agreements to which it was a party. The inability of the Palestinian people to achieve statehood was thus not due to any lack of will on Israel’s part, but to the Palestinians’ failure to recognize that Israeli security was in their own interests, as well as being a prerequisite for Palestinian statehood. The road map and other international agreements were unequivocal in determining that both Israel and Palestine had rights as well as responsibilities.
20. However, draft resolutions such as the one before the Committee only affirmed Palestinian rights without demanding fulfilment of their responsibilities, which included denouncing terrorism and ending the violence. The world could not afford another failed State and Israel would not tolerate a State that allowed terrorism on its border. Stagnation and inaction were not in Israel’s interest, which was why her Government continued to meet with the Palestinian leadership. Currently, it was preparing for a dialogue in Annapolis, which would enable the culmination of the two-State vision. Israel would vote against the draft resolution.
21. Mr. Hagen (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said the United States had worked continuously to support the socio-economic development and legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinian people. Its assistance to Palestinians compared favourably with its aid to other parts of the world and it was committed to a two-State solution. His delegation could not, however, support the draft resolution since it reflected an outdated approach conceived when the Palestinian people believed that the solution to their problems lay in the United Nations. There was indeed a role for the Organization, but that lay in supporting the two parties to work with each other, within the context of the Quartet. One-sided resolutions did nothing to resolve the issue; they only undermined the credibility of the United Nations, which must be perceived by both sides as an honest broker in the conflict.
22. Ms. Nassau (Australia) said that, although her delegation supported a peaceful negotiated settlement based on a two-State solution, it would abstain in the voting, since the text contained unbalanced language that would do nothing to help resolve the conflict.
23. At the request of the representative of Israel, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.3/62/L.63.
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, 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, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.
Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji.
24. The draft resolution was adopted by 172 votes to 5, with 5 abstentions.
25. Ms. Melon (Argentina) said that, without prejudice to her country’s recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to build an independent and viable State, the exercise of the right to self-determination required the existence of an active subject in the form of a people under alien subjugation, domination and exploitation, as established in paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). Therefore, if there was no such subject, there was no right to self-determination. That right should also be interpreted in accordance with the purposes and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions 1514 (XV) and 2625 (XXV), and other relevant United Nations resolutions.
27. Ms. Tavares (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union; the candidate countries Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey; the stabilization and associated process countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia; and, in addition, Iceland and Moldova, reiterated the European Union’s firm commitment to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their right to self-determination. That would include the possibility of establishing a sovereign State in the framework of a two-State solution, as set forth in the Quartet’s road map and agreed upon by both parties, resulting in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel living within recognized and secure borders. Such a solution constituted the best possible guarantee for the security of Israel and its acceptance as an integrated partner in the region.
28. The European Union, for its part, stood ready to contribute within the Quartet to preparations for the upcoming meeting in Annapolis and would continue to support the parties in their ongoing negotiations and in the subsequent implementation period. Progress in negotiations should go hand in hand with enhanced cooperation on the ground and the strengthening of Palestinian institutions, which would help improve the daily life of the Palestinian people. The European Union urged the parties to take additional steps towards meeting previous commitments, including under the road map and the Agreement on Movement and Access.
29. Mr. Bowman (Canada) reiterated his delegation’s strongest possible support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination as part of the negotiated, two-State settlement laid out in the road map, endorsed by the Security Council, which Canada fully supported. He acknowledged ongoing efforts towards establishing a peaceful settlement and welcomed the current bilateral dialogue. However, since the resolution did not adequately address the responsibilities of both parties to the conflict, Canada could not fully support it and had chosen to abstain.
30. Ms. Abdelhady-Nasser (Observer for Palestine) said that the outcome of the vote reaffirmed the international community’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people and for their right to self-determination, the fulfilment of which was essential to the enjoyment of all other basic human rights.
31. Expressing regret that it had not been possible to adopt the draft resolution by consensus, she said it was a matter of deep concern that Israel continued to vote against a resolution that simply reaffirmed basic principles of international law and called for the exercise, by the Palestinian people, of the right to self-determination. Voting against that right was contradictory to Israel’s professed position in favour of a real peace settlement based on the existence of two States, and mutual recognition of that right was a prerequisite for achieving a just and lasting peace. Moreover, Palestinians as well as Israelis had a right to live in peace and security. To truly recognize a people’s right to self-determination was to recognize that their continued subjugation under occupation was neither legal nor tenable. That should be obvious to all States that supported peace, even those that had voted against the draft resolution or abstained. It should also be obvious to Israel that its ongoing occupation did not ensure its security, but simply perpetuated instability and insecurity for both peoples and throughout the region.
32. The achievement of peace in the Middle East depended on a solution that guaranteed the basic and national rights of both peoples. Recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination was the first step in that direction. For decades, the Palestinian people had struggled for that right to be realized. International support during those years had been instrumental in sustaining their resilience and their hope that one day there would be an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Her delegation’s ultimate hope was that it would not need to consider such a draft resolution the following year. If it did, she hoped that the draft would at least be adopted unanimously.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.