Assembly Adopts Seven Resolutions on Middle East and Palestine Issues; Calls for Comprehensive Settlement under UN Auspices

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Endorses call for setting up preparatory committee to act on convening a peace conference

The General Assembly has endorsed the call for setting up a preparatory committee - within the framework of the Security Council and with the participation of its permanent members - to work towards the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East. The proposal for such a conference emanated from the 1983 International Conference on the Question of Palestine.

The Assembly also expressed he hope that some Member States, owing to whose "negative attitude" the difficulties regarding the convening of the conference "have remained essentially the same", would reconsider their attitude. It also stressed the urgent need for additional concrete and constructive efforts by all Governments" to convene the conference without further delay.

The world body declared once again that peace in the Middle East "is indivisible" and must be based on a comprehensive solution under United Nations auspices, which would ensure Israel's withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and which would enable the Palestinian people to exercise inalienable rights.

The Assembly acted after holding separate debates on two closely related items - the question of Palestine (21-26 November) and the situation in the Middle East (26-28 November). A total of 118 speakers participated in those debates.

Altogether seven resolutions were adopted - four on 2 December on the question of Palestine and three on 4 December on the situation in the Middle East. All seven were opposed by Israel, and all but one - on the status of Jerusalem - by the United States.

Among other things, the world body reaffirmed its conviction that the question of Palestine "is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict" in the Middle East, and that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement could not be achieved "without the participation on an equal footing of all the parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people".

The Assembly condemned Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem, in violation of the United Nations Charter, principles of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, and demanded Israel's immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal from occupied territories. It called on all countries "to cease forthwith, individually and collectively, all dealings with Israel in order totally to isolate it in all fields". It again declared Israel's policies in the occupied territories to be illegal and invalid and called for suspension of military, economic, financial and technological assistance and for severing diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with that country. The Assembly also condemned "increasing collaboration" between Israel and South Africa.

It also deplored the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council - the United States - which had prevented the Council from taking measures against Israel.

The United States, in explaining its negative votes, said one-sided and unbalanced resolutions did not contribute positively to efforts to achieve the Palestinians' legitimate rights. The international conference envisaged in the resolutions would set back, rather than advance, the search for a just and lasting peace in the region.

Israel said the move to convene an international conference was an attempt to derail a genuine rapprochement. The conference would dictate terms to Israel. The idea smacked of an imposed settlement and Israel would oppose it.

Reports: The Assembly reviewed a number of reports relating to the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine, including one by the Secretary-General (A/41/768-S/18427) which detailed the status of the ceasefire and the activities of the three peace-keeping operations in the area - the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO); the situation in the occupied territories; the Palestine refugee problem; and the question of Palestine. …