The General Assembly adopted five resolutions today, four by recorded vote, on the questions of Palestine and the Middle East, including a text that called on Israel to cease all actions contrary to international law that are aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Through the terms of the resolution titled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”, the Assembly called for an immediate halt to all settlement activities, land confiscation and home demolitions, for the release of prisoners and for an end to arbitrary arrests and detentions. It also stressed the need to urgently exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues and for intensified efforts by the parties towards a just, lasting peace in the Middle East based on relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), the Madrid terms of reference, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map.
By the text titled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, the Assembly requested the Division to dedicate its activities in 2023 to the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba, including by organizing a high-level event at the General Assembly Hall on 15 May 2023.
By a resolution titled “The Syrian Golan”, the Assembly declared that the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws and jurisdiction on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no validity and called upon Israel to rescind it.
The Assembly also adopted drafts titled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” and “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Global Communications of the Secretariat”. By the terms of the latter text, the Assembly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and welcomed the decision of the United Nations to honour her legacy by renaming a training programme to “Shireen Abu Akleh Training Programme for Palestinian Broadcasters and Journalists”.
As the floor opened for debate, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said that Israeli exceptionalism has only emboldened Israel’s worst instincts. Today the Assembly will finally acknowledge the historical injustice that befell the Palestinian people, adopting a resolution that decides to commemorate in the Assembly Hall the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba. There is no two-State solution without a sovereign and independent State of Palestine based on the pre‑1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Anybody serious about the two-State solution must help salvage the Palestinian State and recognize it now without further delay, he said, stressing that justice in Palestine would mean that the international law-based order has triumphed over impunity and double standards.
Israel’s delegate said that the resolutions’ sole purpose is to blame everything in the Middle East solely on Israel. “This conflict, like any conflict, can be solved in one way, and one way only, with both sides sitting down at the negotiating table,” he continued. Yet every time peace proposals are put forward, the Palestinians refuse to budge one inch from their position, which would entail the destruction of the Jewish State. Palestinian leadership will not compromise on any demands if every United Nations resolution is supported. It was 75 years ago that the Assembly voted on resolution 181, through which the international community voiced its support for a Jewish State, only for five Arab armies to respond by trying to destroy and annihilate Israel, he recalled.
Egypt’s delegate said that, considering current tensions, the situation could explode at any moment. “A sense of duty should compel all of us” to recognize that there could be no other solution to the Palestinian cause aside from one that is focused on United Nations resolutions, a two-State solution and the Arab Peace Initiative, he added.
The representative of the United States voiced concern that 2022 has been the most violent year in the West Bank since 2004, with 150 Palestinians and 29 Israelis killed. Though sustainable peace seems impossible, the international community must take steps to stabilize the situation. But instead, “we are engaged in the annual UN ritual of rubber-stamping outdated and ineffective resolutions that purport to advance the cause for the Palestinian people but instead reveal a profound anti-Israel bias”, he said.
Several delegates throughout the debate expressed support for the humanitarian work conducted by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and also stressed the need to close its funding gap.
Also speaking today were representatives of Senegal, India, Mexico, Kuwait, Qatar, Namibia, China, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Japan, Colombia, Morocco, Indonesia, South Africa, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Tunisia, Guyana, Oman, Norway, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bolivia, Cuba, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Viet Nam, Iraq, Lebanon, Venezuela, Sovereign Order of Malta, Syria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Slovenia, Australia and Argentina, as well as the European Union.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 1 December, for a debate on sport for development and peace.