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Cablegate: Unga: 63rd Unga Adopts Resolutions On Israel And

VZCZCXRO3020
PP RUEHROV
DE RUCNDT #1120/01 3361351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011351Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5443
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 001120

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PREF KPAL KWBG UNGA IS
SUBJECT: UNGA: 63RD UNGA ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON ISRAEL AND
THE MIDDLE EAST

1. The 63rd UNGA held its debate on agenda item 16, "The
Question of Palestine," and agenda item 15, "The Situation in
the Middle East," from November 24-25. Over 50 countries
spoke; paragraph 8 gives a complete list. The President of
the General Assembly (PGA), Miguel D'Escoto opened the debate
with a statement calling for Member States to launch a
campaign of sanctions to rectify the situation in Gaza.
Notably, D'Escoto said that Israel cannot ignore the United
Nations' call for the creation of two states, even though it
has the United States as "a protective shield in the Security
Council." Most of the interventions supported a two-state
solution, called for Israel to end blockades and the
detainment of Palestinians, and recognized the legitimacy of
the Palestinian people's exercise of self-determination.
Israel asked whether resolutions that criticized Israel
tangibly contributed to peace in the region.

"ISRAEL'S SHIELD" AND OTHER RHETORIC AGAINST THE U.S.
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. PGA D'Escoto gave a statement when introducing the two
topics, which lamented the fact that the United Nations was
celebrating a day of "Solidarity with the Palestinian
People," instead of the creation of a Palestinian state.
D'Escoto compared Israeli policies to apartheid in South
Africa and noted, "the United Nations should consider
following a similar non-violent campaign of boycott,
divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its
violations." Notably, D'Escoto called the United States
Israel's "protective shield" in the Security Council (UNSC),
but emphasized that no amount of "arm twisting and
intimidation" would change UNSC resolution 181, which calls
for the creation of two states.

3. Several countries reiterated D'Escoto's use of the term
"protective shield." Although no delegates used this
language on November 24 (the day D'Escoto spoke), Cuba,
Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Syria referenced it on the
following day. Syria additionally called for the United
States to go beyond "negligence and indifference" in its
policies toward the situation in the Gaza Strip. Syria and
Cuba condemned the "acts of aggression by U.S. forces in Iraq
on Syria in October."

SPEAKING UP FOR ISRAEL
----------------------

4. The Israeli Permanent Representative, Gabriela Shalev,
asked whether General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel
brought any tangible relief to Palestinians. She also said
that the real problem in the Middle East was that of
spreading extremism. Shalev said Iran continues to develop
nuclear capacities and fund terrorism, while calling for
Israel's destruction. Israel's Permanent Representative
highlighted the need for a two-sided solution to a two-sided
conflict and rejected the day of solidarity with the
Palestinian people as biased. In closing, she urged the
international community to strengthen moderates in the region
and discard the "politics of blame." During its
intervention, Iran insisted on the peaceful characteristics
of its nuclear program and accused Israel of having the truly
dangerous nuclear force.

5. Canada voiced concern about the number of resolutions
that singled out Israel, and the disproportionate emphasis on
the Middle East. Speeches by the European countries went a
little further in condemning both Palestinian and Israeli
actions that promoted conflict. The European countries and
Japan insisted, however, that Israeli settlement activities
must cease.

THE REPEATED CALL: WITHDRAWAL, NO WALL
--------------------------------------

6. In its intervention and a right of reply to Israel, the
Palestinian observer emphasized that Israel needed to comply
with UN resolutions and argued that the problem stemmed from
Israel's demarcation of "sides." In reality, the observer
continued, there is only one side, the side of justice and
international law, with which Israel refuses to comply.
During the right of reply, the speaker said that instead of
asking whether resolutions in the General Assembly contribute
to peace in the Middle East, the Israeli ambassador should
ask whether Israel's own actions promote peace.

7. Many delegates commended the work of the Annapolis
Conference and urged parties to continue talks. The majority
of the interventions, particularly from the Arab States and
non-aligned movement (NAM) countries, included: objections to
Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people as a violation
of international law, the UN charter, and principles of human
rights; calls to end the blockade and construction of a wall

USUN NEW Y 00001120 002 OF 002


in Gaza; notice of the economic disadvantages of the
Palestinian area due to the blockades; requests for Israel to
completely withdraw from Palestinian areas; and arguments for
a two-state solution. The Arab States and NAM member
countries emphasized the legitimacy of the Palestinian
people's right to self-determination and the defense and
exercise of the same.

LIST OF SPEAKERS
----------------

8. The following delegations made interventions on the
"Question of Palestine": Senegal (to introduce draft
resolutions A/63/L.32-A/63/L.35), Malta (to introduce the
report A/63/53), France (on behalf of the EU), Cuba (on
behalf of the NAM), Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada,
Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia,
Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Palestinian
Observer, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, South Africa,
Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela,
Vietnam, and Yemen. These countries spoke on "The Situation
in the Middle East": Egypt (to introduce draft resolutions
A/63/L.36 and A/63/L.37), Cuba (on behalf of the NAM),
Australia, China, India, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya,
Norway, Switzerland, Syria, and Turkey.
Wolff

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