UN resolution stresses illegality of Israeli settlements in Palestine
A committee in the United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a draft resolution that called on nations to ensure that they do not treat settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands of West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds as a part of the Israeli entity.
The UN General Assembly's Second Committee, one of the six main committees of the General Assembly, passed the resolution on Wednesday by 156 votes in favor and 6 votes against by Israel, the United States, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru.
Countries which abstained from the anti-Israel resolution included Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Togo, Tonga and Tuvalu.
The document highlighted UN Security Council Resolution 2334, endorsed in December 2016, which pronounced Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law,” calling on its member States to ensure that they do not participate in actions of de facto annexation of the occupied lands.
The new resolution “underscored, in this regard, the call by the Security Council, in its resolution 2334 (2016), upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between … Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
It also condemned Israel for the razing of Palestinian structures and recognized the Palestinians’ sovereign rights to the natural resources of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
It further affirmed the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources.”
The Palestinians, it added, should be compensated for the Israeli use of their natural resources.
Additionally, the resolution demanded “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 (al-Quds), and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
The document also called “upon Israel not to impede Palestinian development and export of discovered oil and natural gas reserves.”
The Palestinian representative thanked those countries that supported the resolution, which he described as an affirmation of the rights of Palestinians to the territory over the pre-1967 lines.
Urgent international action is needed to bring Israel into compliance with international law, he noted.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Emboldened by US President Donald Trump's all-out support, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in recent years.
Late last month, Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, called on the international community to take action as the occupying regime records the highest number of annual settlement approvals.