Middle East, Jerusalem and the United Nations.

United Nations, December 4, 1996

PRESS RELEASE United Nations, December 4, 1996 The General Assembly urged all parties to the Middle East peace process to fulfil their obligations and to implement concluded agreements by the terms of one of seven resolutions adopted by the Assembly this morning, all by recorded votes. Approving that resolution by a vote of 159 in favour and 3 against (Iran, Lebanon and Syria), with 2 abstentions (Libya, Sudan), the Assembly called for the immediate acceleration of negotiations on the agreed basis, while stressing the need for rapid progress on all tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations. Member States were also called upon to extend economic, financial and technical assistance to parties in the region and to render support for the peace process. The representative of Syria, explaining his delegation's vote against that draft, said it should have reflected the deterioration of the peace process because of the non-compliance of the Israeli Government with agreements. Also, since the current resolution contained no mention of relevant Security Council resolutions, Syria could not welcome a process not based on the principle of land for peace. Supporting the draft, the representative of the United States said it was a clear endorsement of the efforts the parties keep moving forward in their quest for peace. Also this morning, the Assembly determined that the Israeli imposition of its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem was illegal and, therefore, null and void and without validity. A draft by which, the Assembly also deplored the transfer by some States of their diplomatic mission to Jerusalem was adopted by a vote of 148 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 13 abstentions. (Note: bold by us. For voting details, see end of item) A resolution on the Syrian Golan, as orally revised, was adopted by a vote of 84 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 7 1 abstentions. By its terms, the Assembly demanded that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 1967, calling the de facto annexation a stumbling block to peace.

The representative of Israel said her Government had opposed the drafts on Jerusalem and on the Golan because those were matters which should be addressed within the framework of direct negotiations between the parties. The Assembly was not the correct forum to discuss the issues, and any resolution would serve only to prejudge the outcome of the negotiations. Also this morning, the Assembly reaffirmed the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, which it said represented the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In one of four resolutions on the question of Palestine, adopted by a vote of 152 in favour to 2 against (United States, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Fiji, Costa Rica, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands), the Assembly stressed the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; the importance of the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967; and the need for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees.

The Assembly adopted two resolutions recognizing the continued contribution which the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights could make to the peace process. By the resolution on the Committee, adopted by a vote of 104 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 46 abstentions, the Assembly authorized the Committee to continue to promote the rights of the Palestinians and called upon the Secretary-General to continue to provide it with the facilities needed to perform its tasks. (See Annex I.) In the resolution on the Division, adopted by 107 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 46 abstentions, the Assembly asked that the Secretary-General continue to provide it with the necessary resources.

In the fourth resolution on the question of Palestine, the Assembly called upon the Department of Public Information (DPI) to continue its special information programme on the question for the biennium 1996-1997, with the necessary flexibility. By adoption of that resolution by 157 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands), the DPI was asked to, among other things, disseminate information on United Nations activities on the question of Palestine; to organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area; and to organize international, regional and national encounters for journalists. The representative of the United States said his Government had opposed the four resolutions because three of them promoted institutions whose approaches to the process were unbalanced and outdated and whose activities drained $7 million annually that could better serve the cause of economic development in the West Bank and Gaza. The United States had opposed the resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, as it inappropriately and unhelpfully injected the Assembly into issues which were under direct negotiations between the parties. Explaining her Government's opposition to the three later drafts, the representative of Israel said the funds expended to support those Secretariat activities should be devoted to more constructive activities, such as supporting social and economic development that would benefit Palestinians. The representative of Senegal, acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, introduced the drafts relating to the question of Palestine. The drafts relating to Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan were introduced by the representative of Egypt. Statements in explanation of position were also made by the representatives of Turkey, Ecuador, Lebanon, France, Sudan, Egypt, Swaziland, Venezuela and Argentina. A statement was also made by the observer of Palestine. The Assembly meets again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to discuss assistance in mine clearance. Vote on Jerusalem The draft resolution on Jerusalem (document A/51/L 38) was adopted by a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 1 against, with 13 abstentions, as follows: In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Against: Israel. Abstaining: Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Samoa, Swaziland, United States. Absent: Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zaire.