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        General Assembly
24 November 1999

Original: French

General Assembly
Fifty-fourth session
Official Records

Second Committee
Summary record of the 43rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 24 November 1999, at 10 a.m.

Mr. Niculescu ....................................................(Romania)
later: Mr. Brauzzi (Vice-Chairman)......................(Italy)



Agenda item 103: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (continued)

In the absence of the Chairman, Mr. Niculescu (Romania), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.


Agenda item 103: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (continued)

Draft resolution on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (A/C.2/54/L.32*)

34. Mr. Niculescu (Romania), Vice-Chairman, introduced draft resolution A/C.2/54/L.32*, which had been drafted as a result of informal consultations and which had been reissued for technical reasons. He pointed out that, at the end of the fourth line of the last preambular paragraph in the English text, the word “that” should appear only once.

35. The Chairman said that, if he heard no objection, the draft resolution, as orally revised, would be put to the vote.

36. It was so decided.

37. Mr. Gabay (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said that, since its inception, Israel had hoped to establish peaceful relations with all its neighbours. Indeed, the establishment of permanent peace in the Middle East had been the foundation of its policy, and at a time when prospects for the realization of that goal were favourable, it had expected to receive the support of the international community.

38. In that context, draft resolution A/C.2/54/L.32* was completely superfluous because, by ignoring the mutual commitments between the parties, it attempted to set up a parallel process that would contribute nothing to the negotiations. In fact, on 4 September 1999, Israel and the Palestinian Authority had signed the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, in which they had made a commitment to negotiate a framework agreement on final status by February 2000. The fact that the parties had been able to set a target date of 13 September 2000 for the signing of the agreement showed that direct negotiations were the only way to achieve positive results.

39. It was therefore regrettable that the Committee should be discussing a draft resolution which was aimed at predetermining the outcome of the direct negotiations. The United Nations could indeed play a constructive role by supporting the achievements of the peace process. By contrast, consideration of a draft resolution on sovereignty over natural resources was another attempt to intervene in matters relating to the peace process, which lay outside the scope of the Second Committee.

40. Israel would therefore vote against the draft resolution and urged other delegations which supported the peace process and the principle of direct negotiations to do the same.

41. Mr. Keene (United States of America) said that his delegation would vote against the draft resolution on natural resources in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights for several reasons. First, it attempted to interject the General Assembly into issues which were the subject of negotiations between the parties by prejudging the outcome of the negotiations. For example, the use of the term “sovereignty” was an attempt to use the General Assembly to pre-empt the negotiations.

42. Second, the United States also objected to the reference to “the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem” as an attempt to prejudge the final status negotiations. That was particularly inappropriate in that the parties had only recently signed the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, which included an agreement to begin negotiations on those issues, negotiations that had just begun. His delegation would gladly vote in favour of a resolution that demonstrated the support of the international community for the peace process, but the draft resolution under consideration was too unbalanced to serve the cause of peace.

43. His delegation would therefore vote against the draft resolution and it urged other delegations to do the same.

44. At the request of the representative of the United States of America, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.2/54/L.32* as orally revised.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.


Israel, Marshall Islands, United States of America.


Cameroon, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

45. Draft resolution A/C.2/54/L.32* was adopted by 132 votes to 3, with 5 abstentions.

46. Ms. Silfverberg (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union had voted in favour of the draft resolution because the natural resources of a territory acquired by force should not be used in an abusive and illegal manner by the occupying Power. She also wished to clarify the interpretation which the European Union gave to certain aspects of the draft resolution. She reaffirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable to the occupied Territory, and that any violation of the rights of the Palestinian people was illegal under the terms of that Convention. However, the questions raised in the draft resolution should be addressed in the framework of the final status negotiations. The draft resolution could not be considered as prejudging the outcome of the negotiations, but any action or statement that could be so interpreted must be avoided.

47. Mr. Basmajiev (Bulgaria) said that his delegation associated itself with the explanation of vote after the vote given by the representative of Finland on behalf of the European Union.

48. Mr. Seki (Japan) said that his delegation started from the principle that the process begun in the Middle East was the only realistic option for the establishment of peace and stability in the region. Japan had actively supported that process through consultations with the parties and economic assistance to the Palestinians, and intended to continue to do so. In that spirit, his delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/54/L.32*.

49. His delegation also wished to draw attention to paragraph 4 of the draft resolution, which referred to issues to be dealt with in the negotiations, and to express its support for the phrase “[the General Assembly] expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides”. It wished to clarify that, by voting in favour, it did not intend to prejudge the outcome of the final status negotiations. With regard to the concept of “permanent sovereignty” used in the title, his delegation wished to make it clear that its support for the draft resolution did not reflect any change in its position concerning the legal status of the occupied Palestinian territory. Finally, in its view, the Second Committee was not the most appropriate forum to adopt that type of text, which dealt with issues that were fundamentally political in nature.

50. Mr. A’Ala (Syrian Arab Republic) said that the support of delegations for the draft resolution showed that the international community attached importance to the peace process in the Middle East and understood the grave dangers resulting from the systematic policy pursued by the Israeli Government, which ignored United Nations resolutions and violated international norms, thus preventing a comprehensive and just settlement in the region. The international community should accept its responsibility for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in accordance with the resolutions calling for respect for international law, the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Syrian Golan to the June 1967 border and from southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, and the guarantee of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

51. Mr. Jilani (Observer for Palestine) thanked the sponsors of the draft resolution and the States which had voted in favour of it. In his view, there was no contradiction between the current peace process and respect for international law and the resolutions of the United Nations. The agreements negotiated should complement the principles of international law, not replace them. Twenty-four Security Council resolutions affirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War was applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. Israel was imposing a regime similar to apartheid with regard to the use of natural resources, in particular, land and water. Certain standards applied to illegal Israeli settlers, others to the indigenous Palestinian population. He reaffirmed his support for the current peace process and hoped that the negotiations would result in a comprehensive, just and lasting peace which would respect international legitimacy and the United Nations resolutions.

52. The Chairman said that the Committee had thus concluded its consideration of agenda item 103.

The meeting rose at 11.40 a.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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