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Thursday, December 13th, 2018

General Assembly Adopts Text Reiterating Call for Comprehensive Middle East Peace, after Failing to Pass Resolution Condemning Actions by Hamas in Gaza

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by December 7, 2018 Sports

The General Assembly decided today to reiterate its call for the achievement of just and lasting peace in the Middle East while also failing to adopt a text condemning actions by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.

Through a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 12 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East (document A/73/L.49).

Through the draft, the Assembly reiterates its call for the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on relevant United Nations resolutions. It also reiterates its call for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem, and reaffirms its unwavering support for the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders.

Such a peace, unfortunately, is not currently in sight, said Ireland’s representative while introducing the text. Stressing the importance of reversing the current negative developments on the ground, she added that a settlement of the conflict must meet Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, as well as resolve all final status issues.

Prior to adopting that draft, the Assembly failed to adopt another text titled Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza (document A/73/L.42). While the text gained plurality support in a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 57 against, with 33 abstentions, it failed to meet the two-thirds adoption requirement.

The text would have had the Assembly demand that Hamas and other militant actors, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cease all provocative actions and violent activity. It would have also encouraged tangible steps towards intra Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of the Egypt’s mediation effort.

The Assembly had voted to apply the two-thirds majority requirement for the adoption of draft by a vote of 75 in favour to 72 against, with 26 abstentions.

The representative of the United States � who introduced draft L.42, said it gave the Assembly an opportunity to speak out against one of the ugliest cases of terrorism in the world. She said last week the Assembly adopted six resolutions condemning Israel, noting that the Organization’s hostility against that country is unquestionable. (For details on those draft resolutions see Press Release GA/12096.) Condemning Hamas’ call to destroy Israel, she said Hamas has turned Gaza into a police State while using United Nations resources to build rockets. The people that have suffered most under Hamas are Palestinians, she stressed, noting that the draft would right a historic wrong.

However, the representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called on all States to reject the L.42 text as it distracts from the deep seeded causes of the conflict. He called for respecting relevant United Nations resolutions in efforts to address the Palestinian Israeli conflict and stressed the importance of a two State solution based on pre 1967 borders.

Israel’s representative, following the Assembly’s failure to adopt the draft, said: Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colours. To the people of Gaza, he said we think of you, and to Hamas your time’s up. Hamas exploits the people of Gaza, he stressed, adding that the organization is in flagrant violation of international law. There is no difference between Hamas, and Al Qaida and Boko Haram, he said, adding that as the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah, the plurality of Member States of the United Nations has chosen to condemn Hamas.

Speaking after action had been taken on both drafts, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said the strong support for draft that was adopted was an unequivocal affirmation, especially significant in view of actions aimed at eroding the global consensus for a just solution for the Palestinian people. Thanking Ireland for presenting the text, he said peace negotiations cannot be credible if detached from the United Nations. The resolutions are not one sided or anti Israel; they are pro-peace pieces of legislation, he stressed.

Following the introduction of draft L.42, the representative of Bolivia took the floor to withdraw an amendment that his delegation had proposed � the language of which mirrored that of the draft introduced by Ireland. In doing so, he condemned all violence and urged all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians and infrastructure.

Explaining their positions on the drafts, Member States condemned violence in Gaza and affirmed their support for a two-State solution to the conflict. The representative of Austria, speaking for the European Union, supported draft L.42 and emphasized the bloc’s commitment to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Any peace plan that fails to recognize internationally agreed upon parameters is doomed to fail, he said.

The representative of Chile called on Israel to lift the restrictions imposed on the people of Gaza. There is no reason to justify acts of terrorism, he said. Reiterating full support for a two State solution and declaring that both Palestine and Israel have the right to coexist peacefully, he said Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East.

Also speaking were the representatives of Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Kingdom, Bahrain, Norway, Mexico, Viet Nam, Ecuador, Canada, Afghanistan and Singapore.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 December, to take action on reports of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee).

Situation in Middle East

NIKKI HALEY (United States), introducing a draft resolution titled Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza (document A/73/L.42), said today presents the General Assembly an opportunity to speak out against one of the ugliest cases of terrorism in the world. She said last week the Assembly adopted six resolutions condemning Israel, noting that the Organization’s hostility against that country is unquestionable. The issue before us now is if the United Nations considers terrorism acceptable when it is targeted at Israel, she said. The draft does not comment on specific peace agreements and stands for the rejection of terrorism, she said, stressing: There can be no peace without agreement that terrorism is unacceptable.

The charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and the organization has used suicide bombers to target Israeli targets, she said. It has launched thousands of rockets over the Israeli border, such actions are classic cases of terrorism. Still, not a single resolution has been adopted condemning Hamas, she stressed, adding that today the General Assembly could change that record.

She said certain Member States abandoned all sense of truth. Today that could be changed as States can come together for peace. Hamas has been the de facto Government in Gaza for years, she noted, adding that the unemployment rate in the territory is among the highest in the world. Hamas has turned Gaza into a police State while using United Nations resources to build rockets. The people that have suffered most under Hamas are Palestinians, she stressed, noting that the draft would right a historic wrong. The General Assembly must be on record condemning Hamas’ terrorism, she asserted, asking Arab States if their hatred towards Israel was so strong that they would defend a terrorist organization. For the sake of peace and of this institution, I respectfully urge my colleagues to support the United States’ resolution, she said.

The representative of Bolivia, noting that an amendment had been presented in document A/73/L.46 to the draft resolution contained in document A/73/L.42, expressed commitment to all international efforts to resolve the occupation, including those of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative. The only way to resolve the issue is a two State solution with the creation of a free, sovereign and independent Palestine State with pre 1967 international borders and east Jerusalem as capital. Condemning all violence and pleading with all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians and infrastructure, he said that after numerous consultations his delegation has decided to withdraw the amendment. He called on all delegates from all Member States to join the initiative put forward by the United States and adopt that text by a two thirds majority of the General Assembly.

The representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the situation in the Middle East is directly linked to international peace and security. He condemned Israeli policies that violate international humanitarian law and the Charter of the United Nations and requested a vote to apply the two thirds majority rule for the adoption of draft L.42.

The representative of the United States said a simple majority is required for adoption of the resolution. She called for fairness in the United Nations and said action on the draft was about doing what is right. The General Assembly has never uttered a word in any resolution about Hamas, she said. The decision to adopt the text by a two thirds majority is based on a desire to have the resolution fail. She urged all States to vote against the motion.

The Assembly then decided to apply the two thirds majority requirement for the adoption of draft L.42 by a vote of 75 in favour to 72 against, with 26 abstentions.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking in explanation of position before the vote and on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Bahrain, aligned himself with the Arab Group. He stressed the importance of a lasting and comprehensive peace and called for a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital within pre 1967 borders. The end of the conflict can only be achieved through peaceful means, he stressed, requesting Israel to cease its aggression against the Palestinians. Condemning all forms of terrorism, he said rockets sent to Israeli towns and cities must stop. Israel acts in contravention of all Assembly and Council resolutions, he said, and therefore his group of delegations would vote against the resolution under question as it would turn attention away from the problems of occupation, settlement and blockade.

The representative of Iran, also speaking in explanation of position, said that the draft resolution on Hamas is based on deception as it ignores the main root cause of the conflict: the decades long illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. That is the main reason for the suffering imposed on the Palestinians resulting in the displacement of around 6 million refugees. Noting that the unlawful inhumane blockade has made Gaza an inhabitable open air prison, he added that Israel’s so called participation in the peace process has merely been a shroud to hide its policy of aggression and expansion. Rejecting the draft resolution, he added that by undermining the sustained and strong international support for Palestine, the draft not only targets Hamas, but also multilateralism.

The representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called on all States to reject the draft as it distracts from the deep seeded causes of the conflict. He called for respecting relevant United Nations resolutions in efforts to address the Palestinian Israeli conflict and stressed the importance of a two State solution based on pre 1967 borders.

The Assembly then failed to adopt the draft resolution titled Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza (document A/73/L.42) as it did not meet the two thirds requirement following a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 57 against, with 33 abstentions.

The representative of Israel said that today’s resolution presented an opportunity for redemption, offering the United Nations another chance to condemn Hamas. Thanking the United States for standing up to what is right, he said that the plurality achieved today would have been a majority if the vote had not been hijacked by means of procedure. To delegations that had voted against the resolution, he said: Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colours. To the people of Gaza, he said we think of you and to Hamas your time’s up. Hamas exploits the people of Gaza, he stressed, adding that the organization is in flagrant violation of international law. There is no difference between Hamas, and Al Qaida and Boko Haram, he said, adding that as the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah, the plurality of Member States of the United Nations has chosen to condemn Hamas.

The representative of the United Kingdom, associating herself with the European Union, said she voted in favour of the draft as Hamas must be condemned for its indiscriminate use of rocket fire against civilians. She called for a comprehensive peace in accordance with United Nations resolutions and urged all actors to refrain from violence. Palestinians have the right to peaceful protest and Israel has the right to defend itself, she said, asserting that restraint must be shown when using live fire. We expect Hamas and Israel to prevent further escalation, she stressed.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he supported the draft and emphasized the bloc’s commitment to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Any peace plan that fails to recognize internationally agreed upon parameters is doomed to fail, he said, calling for a two State solution in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions. The European Union is deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza where millions of people lack access to basic services and it supports the work of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with Palestinian refugees. We expect de facto authorities in Gaza to prevent escalation, he said, also calling on Israel to apply the principle of proportionality in its use of force.

The representative of Bahrain, voicing support for the Palestinian people, said that a just peace would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. Condemning all forms of violence and extremism, regardless of the motivations, he added that international law must be respected.

The representative of Norway said that he voted in favour of the resolution although the text is not sufficiently strong with regard to the principle of a two State solution. Further, the references in the text to the relevant international laws and United Nations resolutions are too weak. Norway will continue to work to stabilize the situation in Gaza.

The representative of Mexico said that he voted in favour of the resolution to emphatically condemn all forms of violence against civilian populations. He also voiced support for the renewal of dialogue.

The representative of Viet Nam, expressing appreciation for all international efforts towards peace in the Middle East, said that the conflict could only be settled through peaceful negotiations and on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions.

The representative of Chile reiterated its full support for a two State solution, declaring that both Palestine and Israel have the right to coexist peacefully. There is no reason to justify acts of terrorism, he said, adding that counter terrorism efforts must comply with international law. He called on Israel to lift the restrictions imposed on the people of Gaza and condemned all acts of violence. He said Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East.

The representative of Ecuador said her delegation abstained from the vote, citing the responsibility to pursue a fair solution to the crisis. She voiced support for a two State solution and reiterated her Government’s full support for relevant United Nations resolutions. The situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question require an urgent peaceful solution, she said, condemning all forms of terrorism.

The representative of Canada said the fact that the plurality of countries condemned Hamas is a positive step. Votes and resolutions will not be the solution to this conflict, he said, calling on both parties to renew negotiations.

The representative of Afghanistan said that he wished to correct his vote. He voted against the resolution.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) introduced a draft titled Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East (document A/73/L.49). Such a peace, unfortunately, is not currently in sight, she said. Stressing the importance of reversing the current negative developments on the ground, she added that a settlement of the conflict must meet Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty and resolve all final status issues. As a country that has endured and overcome conflict, Ireland remains hopeful that long standing enmities can be set aside, she said, urging delegates to support the resolution.

The Assembly then took up that resolution. The representative of the United States requested a recorded vote on the text, which was adopted by a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States) and 12 abstentions.

The representative of Singapore said he voted in favour of both resolutions. In our understanding, the two draft resolutions are interlinked, he said, condemning all acts of violence against civilian targets. He acknowledged Israel’s right to self defence and reaffirmed his country’s longstanding support for a peaceful solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

The representative of Israel said that the United Nations has passed yet another anti Israel resolution. It has also missed an opportunity to make a clear statement against Hamas, a terrorist organization that derails the hopes for peace. Recalling the words of a former ambassador of Israel to the United Nations, he said that if Algeria were to submit a resolution claiming that the earth is flat, and Israel flattened it, it would pass in the General Assembly. That was 50 years ago, and nothing had changed, he said.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, reaffirming his gratitude to all Member States that have stood by the rights of the Palestinian people, said the strong support for the resolution was an unequivocal affirmation, especially significant in view of actions aimed at eroding the global consensus for a just solution for the Palestinian people and a two State solution. Thanking Ireland for presenting the text, he said peace negotiations cannot be credible if detached from the United Nations. The resolutions are not one sided or anti Israel; they are pro-peace pieces of legislation, he stressed.

Source: United Nations

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