Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter
The Economic and Social Council was expected to wrap up its 2010 substantive session today by taking action on a number of outstanding draft resolutions and draft decisions submitted under various agenda items, by its subsidiary bodies and others.
Action on Drafts
Resuming consideration of item 11 (Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) the Council turned its attention to a similarly titled draft resolution (document E/2010/L.31). The Council Vice-President noted that the text contained no programme budget implications.
Saint Lucia’s delegate said he had not seen the resolution and requested to consider it before any action was taken on the text.
Speaking in general statement before the vote, Israel’s delegate recalled that “declarations of peace were the precursors of peace” and asked how the words of the text reflected peace, or any progress towards the realization of two States, one Israeli the other Palestinian. The text had spared no opportunity to accuse Israel and ignore the threat against Israeli civilians, as well as other existential dangers in the region. The fact that there was no humanitarian crisis had not stopped the texts’ authors from describing one.
She said the resolution was incapable of discussing Israel in the context of its cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. It also ignored Israel’s policy to allow materials into the Gaza Strip, a move that had been welcomed by the Quartet. In what had become a predictable resolution, sponsors had hijacked the Council to promote an agenda that demonized Israel and blocked peace prospects. “Peace will require political risks”, she said, as well as difficult compromises from all sides. The same resolution was adopted, year after year, irrespective of realities on the ground. Israel called for voting against the resolution.
Speaking before the vote, the United States’ delegate supported improving the economic and social condition of Palestinians, adding that his Government was working to support the Palestinian Authority’s two-year plan to reform institutions and build a strong economy. Since the Council last considered the issue, Israel had lifted checkpoints and eased barriers. Combined with sound fiscal policies by the Palestinian Authority, among other things, such actions had led to impressive economic growth in Ramallah, Jenin and other Palestinian cities.
Moreover, Palestinians in the West Bank were finding jobs, he said, noting also a steady, positive trend in Gaza that had been seen since Israel’s 20 June announcement of its new policy, he said. More goods entering that area were reducing prices and demand for “tunnel products”. For its part, the United States had worked to bring a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given that, his Government was perplexed by the text that had emerged from negotiations. Support for a two-State solution required supporting both sides. The resolution had been presented with little advance notice and was fundamentally unbalanced. As such, the United States would vote against the resolution with deep regret, but would continue working with the Quartet and regional States to advance the achievement of two States living side by side in peace and security.
Belgium’s delegate, speaking on behalf of States including Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, said that delegation would vote in favour of the text. In that context, she emphasized the importance of international humanitarian law and protection of civilians in line with such law.
By a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 3 against (Australia, Canada, United States), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mongolia), the Council adopted the resolution on Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.
Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Australia’s delegate was deeply concerned at the worsening situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. Australia’s assistance to Palestinians was helping to build schools and health clinics, among other things. However, the country’s opposition to the text reflected its strong concern that it introduced political issues into the forum. It did not reflect the responsibility of all parties to address issues and did not help improve the situation on the ground. Australia had supported efforts to achieve an enduring peace based on an enduring solution. He urged parties to use talks initiated by the United States to work in that direction.
Saint Lucia’s representative said his delegation had voted in favour of the text, as it was concerned with persons everywhere in the world, whether in occupied territories or colonies. He thanked all delegations that had voted in favour of the text and those that had not voted against it.
Speaking in general statement after action, the observer for Palestine said the worsening situation in the Gaza Strip required the international community to take action to bring tangible improvements on the ground. The adoption of the resolution reflected the serious concern at the situation in Palestine. It sent a message to Palestinians that the international community recognized their hardship. Concrete measures must now be adopted to assist Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, to persevere until the occupation had ended and peace was achieved. She thanked Egypt for introducing the text, as well as the United Nations and donor countries for their efforts to provide assistance to Palestinians.