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Source: Human Rights Council
27 November 2006



Human Rights Council adopts texts on Israeli settlements, cooperation between OHCHR and Afghanistan and Nepal


The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted five texts on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Syrian Golan; human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality; persons deprived of liberty in the context of counter-terrorism measures; and cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Afghanistan and Nepal.

In a resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Golan, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, one against and one abstention, the Council called upon the Government of Israel to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 to allow him fully to discharge his mandate. The Council urged Israel, the occupying power, to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan and to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories.


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Action on Draft Resolutions and Decisions


Resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Golan


In a resolution (A/HRC/2/L.12) on
Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Golan, adopted as orally amended by a vote of 45 in favour, one against, and one abstention, the Council calls upon the Government of Israel to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 to allow him fully to discharge his mandate; urges Israel, the occupying power: to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan; to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories; demands that Israel implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the then United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-seventh session on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan; demands that Israel, the occupying power, comply fully with its legal obligations; and urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process and to implement fully the Road Map endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003), with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and other relevant United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security.


The result of the vote was as follows:


In favour
(45): Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Ukraine Uruguay and Zambia.

Against
(1): Canada.

Abstention
(1): Cameroon.


ITZHAK LEVANON (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said since September last year, Palestinian armed groups had fired 1,700 rockets into Israel, maiming civilians, including children, and heavily damaging civilian infrastructure and homes. Not a single one of these had hit a military target, as they were not aimed at these, but at civilians. As the High Commissioner had noted, the use of Qassam missiles was done only with the intent to kill and to spread fear without discrimination. As such, they were in breach of international humanitarian law.

Yesterday, Israelis and Palestinians had reached a ceasefire agreement, which was holding so far. In light of such encouraging developments, the speaker had asked his Palestinian colleague to withdraw this resolution, giving an indication of positive and constructive intentions. The resolution was tabled for purely political reasons, and as a distraction technique to the real issues which had to be resolved. It recognised the principles set out in the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, however, it deliberately failed to mention that within these arrangements the issue of settlements would be left to the permanent status negotiations between the parties. Therefore, it not only pre-judged the outcome of these negotiations, but also failed to project reality on the ground, and at the same time impeded positive development that could work towards solving the conflict. All those who would vote for the resolution were perpetuating the conflict instead of pushing for a solution.


MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said he heard what Israel asked Palestine to do. It did not mention the Palestinian answer to that request. Palestine would like to live in peace, but the fact that the occupation was persistent made it necessary for this draft resolution to continue to be tabled. Israel should be judged by its acts rather than by what it stated. Palestine called upon Israel to put the swords aside and transform them into ploughs to cultivate the rich grounds of Palestine bearing in mind the future of both peoples. Palestine thanked the delegations supporting the current text.

AYMAN RAAD (
Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said the Council was dealing with the Israeli practices and its policies in the occupied territories. The Palestinians and the Syrians in the Golan Heights were living in confined areas, which the Israeli representative had called a comfort. The Syrian farmers in Golan were affected by the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. Israel should withdraw from the territories it occupied. Israel was applying a Middle Ages policy while one was living in the twenty-first century. Each day one was witnessing an exodus of the Arab population from the occupied territories. The Israeli practices were a shame for the international community.

PAUL MEYER (
Canada), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the United Nations General Assembly was the appropriate forum to address the issue of Israeli settlements, not the Human Rights Council. Canada had concerns about the Israeli settlements, but also had concerns about the resolution, which was not balanced, and did not recognise all victims in the conflict. The resolution did not contribute to a peaceful solution to the conflict. Canada called for a vote, and would vote against the text.

ELIANA BERAUN (
Peru), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Peru voted for the draft resolution. However, Peru would like to condemn all acts of violence targeting civilians, and called upon Member States to help combat all forms of violence.

TAPANI KIVELA (
Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote after the vote, thanked both the Israeli and Palestinian delegations for their cooperation in dealing with the resolution and would like to see others do the same with regard to other issues. The European Union called on Israel to desist from any acts that compromised the peace process. The European Union welcomed the ceasefire agreement between Palestine and Israel and both sides should refrain from attacking each other.

ALBERTO J. DUMONT (
Argentina), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Argentina had voted in favour of the resolution, and wished to express condemnation for violence and all acts of terrorism. This should have been reflected in the resolution, as it had been in a relevant resolution of the Human Rights Commission.

USMAN SARKI (
Nigeria), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Nigeria voted in favour of this resolution as it believed in the peaceful resolution of disputes between and among nations. Nigeria had put this policy into practice by signing a peaceful agreement with neighbouring Cameroon over a territorial dispute. It was possible to solve disputes without resorting to war or violence. The parties to the conflict in the Middle East should abide by all United Nations resolutions and international law.

GALO LARENAS SERRANO (
Ecuador), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Ecuador voted in favour of the draft text L.12. Ecuador condemned any form of violence and called for the peaceful settlement of conflicts through negotiations and a peaceful manner.

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