|The News Line: Feature
Friday, 2 January 2015
Britain stabs Palestine in the back as UN motion to end occupation fails by one vote!
BRITAIN stabbed the Palestinian people in the back on Tuesday evening when it abstained on the vote at the UN Security Council supporting Palestinian statehood leaving the resolution one short of a majority with the USA not having to use its veto.
|Hundreds of thousands marched for Palestine in the UK during Israel’s 51-day war while the House of Commons voted to urge recognition of Palestine
The British action was also a government slap in the face to the House of Commons which had overwhelmingly carried a resolution urging the British government to recognise the state of Palestine.
China, France and Russia were among the eight countries that voted in favour of the text, but the resolution fell one short of winning the nine ‘yes’ votes necessary for adoption in the 15-member council.
Australia and the United States voted against, and five other countries abstained, including Britain.
The resolution drafted by the Palestinians and backed by Arab countries would have paved the way to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
It set a 12-month deadline for Israel to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians and called for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.
Security Council member Jordan had requested the vote despite opposition from the United States, which argued that the resolution did not address Israel’s security concerns and set arbitrary deadlines.
The vote meant that the United States was not faced with having to decide whether to use its veto to block the vote, a move which would have undermined US standing in the Arab world, angering key Arab allies, including partners in the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had lobbied in the days leading up to the vote, calling 13 foreign ministers to put pressure on them against voting in favour.
However, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg joined China, France and Russia in supporting the resolution.
Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Korea abstained, along with Britain.
Nigeria had been expected to support the resolution but changed its stance at the last minute.
France’s envoy, Francois Delattre, said he backed the resolution because of the ‘urgent need to act’ and insisted: ‘Our efforts must not stop here. It is our responsibility to try again, before it’s too late.’
The vote capped a three-month campaign by the Palestinians at the United Nations to win support for a resolution that sets a timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour accused the council of failing to shoulder its responsibilities and vowed to seek other venues to gain recognition.
‘The Palestinian people and the world can no longer wait. That message, despite the regrettable outcome today, is especially clear,’ he told the council.
The Palestinians have said they are prepared to join the International Criminal Court to launch legal action against Israel and use other international fora to press their case if the resolution fails.
The full text of the resolution is as follows:
‘Reaffirming its previous resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967); 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1544 (2004), 1850 (2008), 1860 (2009) and the Madrid Principles,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders,
Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,
• Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and recalling its resolutions 446 (1979), 452 (1979) and 465 (1980), determining, inter alia, that the policies and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,
• Recalling also its relevant resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem, including resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, and bearing in mind that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognised by the international community,
• Affirming the imperative of resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees on the basis of international law and relevant resolutions, including resolution 194 (III), as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative,
• Recalling the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
• Underlining that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, and calling for a sustainable solution to the situation in the Gaza Strip, including the sustained and regular opening of its border crossings for normal flow of persons and goods, in accordance with international humanitarian law,
• Welcoming the important progress in Palestinian state-building efforts recognised by the World Bank and the IMF in 2012, and reiterating its call to all States and international organisations to contribute to the Palestinian institution building programme in preparation for independence,
• Reaffirming that a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-State solution, building on previous agreements and obligations and stressing that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement that ends the occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues as previously defined by the parties, and fulfils the legitimate aspirations of both parties,
• Condemning all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism, and reminding all States of their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001),
• Recalling the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection in situations of armed conflict,
• Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
• Noting with appreciation the efforts of the United States in 2013/14 to facilitate and advance negotiations between the parties aimed at achieving a final peace settlement,
• Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a long-term solution to the conflict,
1. Affirms the urgent need to attain, no later than 12 months after the adoption of this resolution, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967 and fulfils the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within mutually and internationally recognised borders;
2. Decides that the negotiated solution will be based on the following parameters:
– borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps;
– security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine, including through a full and phased withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces, which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe, not to exceed the end of 2017, and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine through effective border security and by preventing the resurgence of terrorism and effectively addressing security threats, including emerging and vital threats in the region;
– a just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee question on the basis of Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 194 (III);
– a just resolution of the status of Jerusalem as the capital of the two States which fulfils the legitimate aspirations of both parties and protects freedom of worship;
– the just settlement of all other outstanding issues, including water and prisoners;
3. Recognises that the final status agreement shall put an end to the occupation and an end to all claims and lead to immediate mutual recognition;
4. Affirms that the definition of a plan and schedule for implementing the security arrangements shall be placed at the centre of the negotiations within the framework established by this resolution;
5. Looks forward to welcoming Palestine as a full Member State of the United Nations within the timeframe defined in the present resolution;
6. Urges both parties to engage seriously in the work of building trust and to act together in the pursuit of peace by negotiating in good faith and refraining from all acts of incitement and provocative acts or statements, and also calls upon all States and international organizations to support the parties in confidence-building measures and to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations;
7. Calls upon all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;
8. Encourages concurrent efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region, which would unlock the full potential of neighbourly relations in the Middle East and reaffirms in this regard the importance of the full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative;
9. Calls for a renewed negotiation framework that ensures the close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders to help the parties reach an agreement within the established timeframe and implement all aspects of the final status, including through the provision of political support as well as tangible support for post-conflict and peace-building arrangements, and welcomes the proposition to hold an international conference that would launch the negotiations;
10. Calls upon both parties to abstain from any unilateral and illegal actions, as well as all provocations and incitement, that could escalate tensions and undermine the viability and attainability of a two-State solution on the basis of the parameters defined in this resolution;
Reiterates its demand in this regard for the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem;
11. Calls for immediate efforts to redress the unsustainable situation in the Gaza Strip, including through the provision of expanded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other United Nations agencies and through serious efforts to address the underlying issues of the crisis, including consolidation of the ceasefire between the parties;
12. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution every three months;
13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.’
The draft resolution was formally presented to the council on December 17, but the United States quickly rejected the text over Palestinian insistence that deadlines be set.
The resolution contains eight amendments, including a new provision recalling that Israel’s West Bank barrier was declared illegal and demanding an end to Israeli settlement construction in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.
Several European parliaments, including the UK, have adopted motions calling for recognition of Palestine.
The Palestinian Unity government warned last month that if the bid to win support for a UN resolution fails, they are prepared to join the International Criminal Court to file suits against Israel.
They will also take action at the UN General Assembly and in other international fora to force the issue of Palestinian statehood on the agenda.
‘If the Arab-Palestinian initiative submitted to the Security Council to put an end to occupation doesn’t pass, we will be forced to take the necessary political and legal decisions,’ Palestinian President Abbas said last week.
‘If it fails, we will no longer deal with the Israeli government, which will then be forced to assume its responsibilities as an occupier.’
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