UN calls upon Israel not to exploit natural resources in occupied territory

23 November 2004

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Israeli settlements annually discharge 224,000 tons of waste into Palestine, often polluting villages, streams and farms. Drinking water is contaminated by broken, but unrepaired, pipelines and sewage. More than 250,000 olive and other fruit trees have been destroyed in the most recent years. (Arjan El Fassed)


Expressing concern over Israel’s extensive destruction of agricultural land and orchards in occupied Arab territories, the General Assembly would call on that country not to exploit, damage, cause loss, deplete or endanger natural resources in those territories, according to one of six draft resolutions approved today by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

Approving that draft by a recorded 144 votes in favour, to 4 against (Israel Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the United States), with 8 abstentions (Albania, Australia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Tuvalu, Vanuatu), the Committee recommended that the Assembly reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water.

Also by that text, on the 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.2/59/L.41), the Assembly would recognize the Palestinian right to claim restitution due to exploitation, damage, loss, depletion, or endangerment of their natural resources, and express hope that the issue would be dealt with in the final status negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Speaking after the vote, on behalf of the European Union, the representative of the Netherlands said the violation of Palestinian rights was illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The European Union was committed to assisting the parties to find a Middle East settlement within the context of the Road Map set forth by the Quartet, and the text approved by the Committee should not be considered prejudicial or pre-emptive of any outcome.

Another draft (document A/C.2/59/L.38), on implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) would have the Assembly would call for increased financial support to UN-Habitat, particularly non-earmarked contributions, to the UN-Habitat Foundation and its upgrading facility, and would invite governments to provide multi-year funding to support programme implementation. It would also call upon the international donor community and financial institutions to contribute generously to the Technical Cooperation Trust Fund and the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian people.

Further by that text, the Assembly would urge the donor community to support developing-country efforts to make pro-poor investments in services and infrastructure, particularly for slum upgrading. It would encourage governments to set up local, national and regional urban observatories and financially support UN-Habitat to improve data collection, analysis and dissemination. Further, it would request that UN-Habitat continues to help countries affected by natural disasters and complex emergencies to set up rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes, as well as work closely with other United Nations agencies.

The Second Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced in the Journal.

Annex

Draft Resolution

Fifty-ninth session, Second Committee, Agenda item 91, 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,

Recalling its resolution 58/229 of 23 December 2003, and taking note of Economic and Social Council resolution 2004/54 of 23 July 2004,

Recalling also its resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004,

Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and recalling relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Taking into account the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice entitled “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, 1

Expressing its concern at the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Expressing its concern also at the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory during the recent period, including the uprooting of a vast number of olive trees,

Aware of the detrimental impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources, and of the dire economic and social consequences in this regard,

Aware also of the detrimental impact on Palestinian natural resources being caused by the unlawful construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and of its grave effect on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people,

Reaffirming the need for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, the principle of land for peace and the Quartet performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2 as endorsed by Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, and for the achievement of a final settlement on all tracks,

Recalling the need to end all acts of violence, including acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction,

Taking note of the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan; 3

1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water;

2. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, damage, cause loss or depletion of or endanger the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;

3. Recognizes 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, and expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to it at its sixtieth session on the implementation of the present resolution, and decides to include in the agenda of its sixtieth session the item entitled “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”.

Notes

  1. A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.

  • See S/2003/529, annex.
  • A/59/89-E/2004/21.

    Vote on Draft Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty

    The draft resolution on the 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.2/59/L.41) was approved by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 4 against, with 8 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica*, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States.

    Abstain: Albania, Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

    Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan*, Malawi, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger*, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Moldova*, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sudan*, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

    Note: * Denmark’s vote incorrectly reflected as Dominica’s vote; Dominica absent from room. Kyrgyzstan and the Republic of Moldova indicated that they had intended to vote in favour. Niger and the Sudan indicated that had they been present, they would have voted against.

    Related Links

  • Second Committee (Economic and Financial)