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Cablegate: Unga Debates the Question of Palestine and The

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FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3437
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 001214

SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAL KWBG PHUM PREF UNGA IS
SUBJECT: UNGA DEBATES THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND THE
SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, ADOPTS SIX RESOLUTIONS


USUN NEW Y 00001214 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) Summary: The participants in the annual UNGA debates
on the Question of Palestine and on the Situation in the
Middle East that took place November 29-30 broke no new
ground, restating well-known arguments in support of
well-known positions. Several countries did, however,
acknowledge the importance of the international meeting at
Annapolis convened by the U.S. to kick-start the final phase
of the peace process. UNGA December 10 adopted six
resolutions tabled during the debate. The U.S. voted against
all six resolutions. End Summary.

Debate
------

2. (U) The 62nd UN General Assembly held its annual debate on
the "Question of Palestine" and "The Situation in the
Middle East" November 29-30. Thirty-four countries delivered
speeches on "The Question of Palestine" and twenty-two, on
the "Situation in the Middle East." Iran excepted, most
countries praised the meeting in Annapolis, though some with
"cautious optimism." But, for the most part, statements
followed the pattern of previous years with speakers
criticizing Israeli settlements, the Israeli construction of
the separation barrier, Israel's "occupation" of Arab lands,
and Israeli human rights violations against Arabs. Speakers
called for a resolution to final status issues, such as
Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, water
resources, and security. Most speakers called for
intra-Palestinian cooperation and support for Mahmoud Abbas,
and a lasting peace settlement, built upon, "international
law, General Assembly resolution 194, Security Council
resolutions 242, 338, 1397, and 1515 and other relevant UN
resolutions, and the principles outlined in the Roadmap and
the Arab Peace Initiative."

3. (U) Typical of comments critical of Israel, Paul Badji,
Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People and speaking on behalf of
the Committee, said, "the continuing illegal occupation of
the Palestinian Territory remains the root cause of the
conflict." Badji and others accused Israel of ignoring the
International Court of Justice's opinion on the separation
barrier and the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding
settlements. Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, framed the issues in broader Islamic
terms, saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has "bred
mistrust and antagonism between Israel and the Arabs and
indeed the entire Islamic world. The centrality of the cause
of Al-Quds Al-Sharif for the whole Islamic Ummah is clear."
Indonesia announced that it, and South Africa, will
co-organize an Asia-Africa conference on capacity building
for Palestine next year. Libya blamed Israel for the
instability in the Middle East, and Cuba, on behalf of the
Non-aligned Movement (NAM), said, "The Lebanese government
has tried to stabilize their situation, however, Israel is
the cause of the destabilization."

4. (U) The Palestinian representative, and others, referred
to Israel's separation barrier as an "apartheid wall," that
has "transformed Palestinian cities, towns and villages into
massive prisons and ghettos." The Palestinian representative
accused Israel of obstructing progress in the peace process
and aborting all efforts to resume talks. However, he
mentioned that Israel and the Palestinians began formal
negotiations after the Annapolis conference.

5. (U) Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan, on behalf of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference referred to "double
standards" and "selectivity" when discussing human rights,
and the three mentioned the "unqualified support" extended by

USUN NEW Y 00001214 002.2 OF 003


"a permanent member of the UN Security Council" to the
Israeli regime. Iran said that the "international community
cannot be misled by the politically-motivated moves, such as
the recent meeting in Annapolis, that are intended to accord
legitimacy to the forces of occupation and aggression."

6. (U) Israel's statement was strong and direct, calling the
proceedings "viciously boring," and stating, "Palestinian
self-determination is a cause Israel wholeheartedly
supports." He accused the General Assembly of "defaming and
denigrating Israel with the 21 annual Palestinian
resolutions," and he placed the blame for the lack of
Palestinian statehood on Palestinian "wrong choices." He
said, "Regarding Annapolis, moderate Arab and Muslim states
recognize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the
cause of instability in the region. They recognize that the
real dangers come directly from Islamic extremism and its
champion Iran, who sponsors terrorism around the globe, tries
to attain nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust while
preparing for the next one, and relentlessly defies the will
of the international community."

Vote
----

7. (U) The UNGA (U.N. General Assembly) December 10 voted on
and adopted six resolutions tabled during the November 29-30
debate on the "Question of Palestine" and the "Situation in
the Middle East." The United States voted against each
resolution and, as did eight other delegations (Argentina,
Australia, Panama, Portugal (EU), Israel, Iran, Syria, and
the Palestinian Observer), delivered an EOV (explanation of
vote). Resolutions and voting results are in paragraph 10.

8. (U) In its EOV, the U.S. characterized the resolution on
"The Syrian Golan" as "unhelpful" and said that the text
prejudges final status issues. Argentina, which voted for
"The Syrian Golan" resolution, disagreed, asserting that the
text in paragraph six, which calls for "Israel to withdraw
from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June
1967," does not prejudge final status issues. Panama said it
abstained on the "Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," resolution
because it does not believe that the Committee, which was
established "many years ago," reflects the present realities
and developments on the ground.

9. (U) Portugal, speaking on behalf of the EU, praised the
Annapolis Conference, but suggested that Israel commence
bilateral negotiations with Syria and Lebanon in order to
reach a comprehensive regional settlement. Portugal also
stated that it would prefer to have only one resolution on
the Palestinian question rather than six. Israel said, "the
ritualistic recycling of resolutions shows that the Assembly
is oblivious to changes and new realities." Noting that
terrorism is the biggest obstacle to peace, Israel condemned
the resolutions for ignoring the issues of terrorism,
violence, and the rise of Hamas in Gaza. Iran expressed its
concern about resolutions allegedly interfering with
Palestinian domestic and internal matters and warned against
foreign interference in internal Palestinian decision-making
matters, such as in Palestinian elections. Syria asserted
that Israel is able to ignore the will of the international
community because of "the support of a great power." The
Palestinian Observer accused Israel of trying to "disqualify
the international community" by making negative remarks about
the General Assembly and the six Palestinian resolutions.
The Palestinian Observer stated that "Israeli action on the
ground is counter to peace, including the continuation of
settlements, checkpoints, and holding Gaza as a prison."

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10. (U) Resolutions and voting results follow:

The Question of Palestine:

-- "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of
the Palestinian People" -- Vote Results: 109-8(US, Australia,
Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru,
Palau)-55

-- "Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat" --
Vote Results: 110-8(US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall
Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau)-54

-- "Special Information Programme on the Question of
Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the
Secretariat" -- Vote Results: 161-8(US, Australia, Canada,

SIPDIS
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru,
Palau)-5(Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire Malawi, Tonga, Vanuatu)

-- "Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine" --
Vote Results: 161-7(US, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands,
Micronesia, Palau, Nauru)-5(Cameroon, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire
Tonga, Vanuatu)

The Situation in the Middle East:

-- "Jerusalem" -- Vote Results: 160-6(US, Israel, Marshall
Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau)-7 (Angola, Australia,
Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu)

-- "The Syrian Golan" -- Vote Results: 111-6(US, Canada,
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau)-56
Khalilzad

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