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3747th Meetings of Security Council: Situation in Occupied Arab Territories
7 Mar 1997 -  United States Casts Negative Vote; Palestine's Observer Calls for Emergency General Assembly Session
Following two days of debate, during which the Government of Israel was criticized for its recent decision to build a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem, the Security Council this evening failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have called upon Israel to refrain from such settlement activities.
The vote in the Council was 14 in favour to one against (United States), with no abstentions. Thus, the measure failed due to a negative vote by a permanent member.
In response to the Council decision, the Permanent Observer for Palestine called for an emergency session of the General Assembly to take appropriate action. He said the United Nations would bear a permanent responsibility on the question of Palestine until that question was resolved in all its aspects.
Explaining his vote against the text, the representative of the United States said it would not have helped the Middle East peace process. The draft resolution made sweeping statements concerning the legal status of Israeli settlements, which the parties themselves had agreed were to be treated as a permanent status issue in the talks they were about to resume.
The action on the draft resolution this evening, which was sponsored by France, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom, followed a meeting on 5 and 6 March during which 49 speakers addressed the situation in the occupied Arab territories and the 26 February decision by the Government of Israel to build Har Homa, a 6,500 unit housing project in East Jerusalem.
Statements were also made this evening by the representatives of Costa Rica, Egypt and Israel.
The meeting, which began at 6:32 p.m., was adjourned at 7:06 p.m.
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