News

Second Committee Approves Two Resolutions, Including on Sovereignty of Palestinians over Their Natural Resources, Oil Slick on Lebanese Shores

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today approved two resolutions, voting on both, including one demanding that Israel cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Further to that draft, on “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”, the General Assembly would also call upon Israel to halt all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, that harm the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the occupied areas and ceasing its destruction of vital infrastructure.

The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Kiribati, Rwanda, South Sudan, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania).

Addressing that text, the representative of Israel stressed that his country is the only one singled out in the Committee — by not one but two resolutions.  Some delegations insist on steering the discussion to their narrow political agendas, he added, already discussed in more appropriate fora.  He cited the dishonesty of the language of the resolution and its waste of United Nations resources, condemning the “annual festival of enmity”.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Syria stressed that his country’s citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan have lost the ability to use 6,000 hectares of arable land, threatening their livelihoods as well as their food security and access to water.  Underscoring that the Israeli occupation cannot change the internationally recognized truth that “this territory is Arab”, he urged the international community to force Israel to respect relevant resolutions.

The observer for the State of Palestine called on Member States that voted in favour to uphold their positions and address the human rights violations, apartheid policies and practices as well as war crimes being perpetrated by Israel.  She reiterated that the State of Palestine will not accept being “dehumanized and blamed for the injustice our people have been enduring for more than 55 years of foreign colonial occupation”.

By another draft on “Oil slick on Lebanese shores”, the General Assembly would reiterate its deep concern about the adverse implications of the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Lebanese Jiyeh electric power plant for the achievement of sustainable development in Lebanon.  It would also acknowledge the conclusions in the report of the Secretary-General, in which he stated that studies show that the value of the damage to Lebanon amounted to $856.4 million in 2014.

The draft was approved by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) with 5 abstentions (Burundi, Cameroon, Guatemala, Rwanda, South Sudan).

The representative of the United States, welcoming the historic and difficult decision by Israel and Lebanon to agree on a maritime boundary, pointed out that one-sided resolutions only distract from efforts to advance peace.  He emphasized that his delegation would vote against any efforts to delegitimize Israel.

The representative of Lebanon noted that the fact that an overwhelming majority had voted in favour sends a clear message that “time is not a vehicle for impunity”.  While the oil spill had caused the worst recorded environmental disaster in the Mediterranean Sea, she pointed out, the socioeconomic and environmental damages have yet to be addressed.

The two draft resolutions approved today were introduced by the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.  The same delegate also introduced 32 draft resolutions to be considered by the Committee in a subsequent meeting.  For each draft resolution she pointed to its relevance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and why the General Assembly should adopt a resolution on that topic.

The representative of the Czech Republic also spoke on behalf of the European Union.

The Second Committee will meet again to act on further draft proposals, on a date to be announced through e‑deleGATE and in the Journal.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) first took action on the draft resolution titled “Oil slick on Lebanese shores” (document A/C.2/77/L.20), approving it by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) with 5 abstentions (Burundi, Cameroon, Guatemala, Rwanda, South Sudan).

By its terms, the Assembly would reiterate, for the seventeenth consecutive year, its deep concern about the adverse implications of the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Lebanese Jiyeh electric power plant for the achievement of sustainable development in Lebanon.

Also by the text, it would acknowledge the conclusions in the report of the Secretary-General, in which he stated that studies show that the value of the damage to Lebanon amounted to $856.4 million in 2014.

It would further reiterate its request to the Government of Israel to assume responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the Government of Lebanon for the aforementioned damage and to other countries directly affected by the oil slick, such as Syria.

Introducing the resolution, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted the resolution addresses unjustified environmental disaster caused by the destruction of the Jiyeh electric power plant on 15 July 2006, causing an oil slick that covered the entirety of the Lebanese coastline, affected other countries and damaged marine ecosystems and biodiversity.  The draft has been technically updated, recognizing the multidimensionality of the adverse impacts of the oil slick.  She stressed the need for Israel to take responsibility for the pending compensation for reparation costs and considerable economic, social and environmental damage.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position before the vote, welcomed the historic and difficult decision by Israel and Lebanon to agree on a maritime boundary — the type of engagement the United Nations should be encouraging.  Instead, the same worn and patently unfair resolutions are voted on each year.  The unbalanced resolution is unfairly critical of Israel, demonstrating a clear institutional bias against one Member State.  Such one-sided resolutions only distract from efforts to advance peace, and his delegation would once again vote against it, and any efforts to delegitimize Israel.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Israel stressed that the draft resolution is based on a deeply misleading premise because it has again failed to mention that the events in question was a direct result of a conflict instigated by Hizbullah.  Recalling that the situation looks brighter on the ground, including in an area with significant economic benefits for Israel and Lebanon, he expressed hope that such developments will help build trust between the two countries.

The representative of Lebanon noted that the fact that an overwhelming majority had voted in favour sends a clear message that “time is not a vehicle for impunity”.  While the oil spill has caused the worst recorded environmental disaster in the Mediterranean Sea, she pointed out, the socioeconomic and environmental damages have yet to be addressed.  She underscored that the draft resolution is more relevant this year in light of the global urgency to address the challenges of climate change.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” (document A/C.2/77/L.14), approving it by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Kiribati, Rwanda, South Sudan, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania).

By its terms, the Assembly would demand that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Further to the draft, it would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, damage, loss or depletion or endangerment of their natural resources resulting from illegal measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, and Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and express hope that this issue will be dealt with within the framework of the final status negotiations.

Also by the text, it would call upon Israel to halt all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan and ceasing its destruction of vital infrastructure.

Introducing the resolution, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said the protracted Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and Syrian Golan continues to deepen the serious economic hardships of those people, and illegally exploit their natural resources.  The draft resolution reaffirms the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, over the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  She expressed concern over the destruction of lands and orchards, and called for full compliance with the International Court of Justice regarding the construction of walls and other illegal practices.

The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of position before the vote, noted that although her delegation supports the resolution, use of the term Palestine cannot be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine, without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States.

The representative of the United States stated that Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to enjoy safe and secure lives, in freedom, dignity and prosperity.  He expressed disappointment that this body had once again taken up this unbalanced resolution that is unfairly critical of Israel, demonstrating a clear and persistent institutional bias directed at one Member State.  One-sided resolutions such as the one just introduced only distract from efforts to advance peace, and his delegation would once again vote against it.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Syria, welcoming the approval of the draft resolution, stressed that his country’s citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan have lost the ability to use 6,000 hectares of arable land, threatening their livelihoods as well as their food security and access to water.  Underscoring that the Israeli occupation cannot change the internationally recognized truth that “this territory is Arab”, he urged the international community to force Israel to respect relevant resolutions.

The observer for the State of Palestine, welcoming the approval, called on Member States that voted in favour to uphold their positions and address the human rights violations, apartheid policies and practices as well as war crimes being perpetrated by Israel.  She reiterated that the State of Palestine will not accept being “dehumanized and blamed for the injustice our people have been enduring for more than 55 years of foreign colonial occupation”.

The representative of Israel said his delegation called for the vote and voted against the text, rejecting the one-sided political narrative, the clearly biased report on which it is based and the false allegations made by several delegations.  Instead of supporting a shared vision, the main sponsors prefer to demonize Israel and divert the attention of the international community from their unwillingness to engage in genuine dialogue.  Israel is the only country singled out in the Committee — by not one but two resolutions.  Some delegations insist on steering the discussion to their narrow political agendas, already discussed in more appropriate fora.  He cited the dishonesty of the language of the resolution and its waste of United Nations resources, condemning the “annual festival of enmity”.

The representative of Pakistan, taking the floor again on behalf of the Group of 77, introduced the following draft resolutions to be considered by the Committee in a subsequent meeting:  “Towards a New International Economic Order” (document A/C.2/77/L.2); “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence” (document A/C.2/77/L.3); “Information and communications technologies for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.4); “International trade and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.5); “International financial system and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.6); “External debt sustainability and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.7); “Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.8); and “Promoting investments for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.9).

Turning to further agenda items, she next introduced draft resolutions titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development” (document A/C.2/77/L.10); “International migration and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.12); “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/77/L.13); “Promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Agenda 21” (document A/C.2/77/L.21); “Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States” (document A/C.2/77/L.22); “Sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations” (document A/C.2/77/L.23); “Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027)” (document A/C.2/77/L.24); and “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition” (document A/C.2/77/L.25).

Next, on development, she introduced draft resolutions titled “Industrial development cooperation” (document A/C.2/77/L.26); “Human resources development” (document A/C.2/77/L.27); “Women in development” (document A/C.2/77/L.28); “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/C.2/77/L.29); “Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” (document A/C.2/77/L.30); “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/C.2/77/L.31); “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.32); and “Follow-up to the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” (document A/C.2/77/L.33).

Taking up environmental and other issues, she then introduced draft resolutions titled “Disaster risk reduction” (document A/C.2/77/L.35); “Follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries” (document A/C.2/77/L.36); “Operational activities for development of the United Nations system” (document A/C.2/77/L.37); “South-South cooperation” (document A/C.2/77/L.38); “Implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conferences on Human Settlements and on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat)” (document A/C.2/77/L.39); “Harmony with Nature” (document A/C.2/77/L.40); “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (document A/C.2/77/L.41); and “Combating sand and dust storms” (document A/C.2/77/L.42).

For each draft resolution she pointed to its relevance to the 2030 Agenda and why the General Assembly should adopt a resolution on that topic.

 

 

 

Source: United Nations