GA Resolution: Israel must withdraw from E.J'lem, Golan
Decisive majority in UN General Assembly approves six pro-Palestinian resolutions, including calls for Israel to dismantle settlements, withdraw from territory captured in '67, including E. J'lem, Golan Heights despite heavy opposition by Israel, US
At the end of three days of speeches, the 192-member world body on Friday reaffirmed the UN's responsibility regarding the Palestinian question and stressed the Palestinian peoples' right to self-determination and an independent state.
In the key resolution on the "Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine," the General Assembly welcomed the Nov. 26 cease-fire in Gaza and urged both sides to maintain the truce which it said could pave the way for negotiations towards a solution to the conflict.
The Palestinian UN Observer, Riyad Mansour, said the vote - 157 to 7 with 10 abstentions - showed massive support in the international community for moving forward on the peace process.
Advancing peace?"The only way to reverse all the ills that we are witnessing in the Middle East is to accept the fact that there can only be a negotiated solution to the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict," Mansour told the assembly on Thursday. "It is unfortunate to say, at the least, that each time the Arabs have extended their hand, it was violently rejected by Israel."
The resolutions are not legally binding - as Security Council resolutions are - but they are a reflection of world opinion. Each of the six resolution received more than 100 "yes" votes. The United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau voted against all six resolutions.
The only other resolution to top 150 "yes" votes declared any attempt to impose Israel's laws, jurisdiction and administration on Jerusalem illegal, and therefore null and void. It was approved by a vote of 157-6 with 10 abstentions.
The other resolutions demanded that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights and supported the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the UN Secretariat's Division for Palestinian Rights, and the UN's special information program on the question of Palestine.
US oppositionUS Diplomat Ned Siegel opposed the Golan Heights resolution, saying it prejudged the outcome of negotiations between Israel and Syria.
He accused Syria of using the General Assembly "to direct accusations at Israel even as it flaunts a number of Security Council resolutions ... With its refusal to treat Lebanon as a genuinely sovereign country."
"We would like to reiterate our alarm at indications that Syria is working with Hizbullah and other Lebanese allies to destabilize the democratically elected Government of Lebanon," Siegel said.
Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari accused the US Of using its veto in the Security Council to protect its Israeli friends and prevent them from complying with UN Resolutions.
After the vote in favor of the Golan Heights resoution - 107-6 with 60 abstentions - Ja'afari thanked members for their support for Syria's right to retrieve its land occupied by Israel in 1967. He appealed for a just peace and for the liberation of the Golan Heights.
It should be noted that these resolutions are not binding since they were decided in the General Assembly.
'Resolutions don't promote peace'
The Foreign Ministry said in response to the resolutions made Friday night: "Unfortunately, for a number of decades, the UN General Assembly tends to automatically pass a series of one-sided, unbalanced, anti-Israel resolutions from year to year."
"These resolutions don't promote peace and don't contribute anything to the Israelis or the Palestinians. The resolutions damage the status of the UN and its capacity to be involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict," the Foreign Ministry said in response.
Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who is visiting New York, met Friday night with incoming UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and discussed the situation in the Middle East with him.
After the meeting, Peres said, "The Muslims and the Palestinians in the UN are presenting a one-sided and distorted picture. If the situation continues, UN forces in the region will weaken." Peres gave the example of the commission of inquiry into the Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun, saying that whoever wants to investigate needs to start with the Palestinian aggression, and not the Israeli response to it.
Ronny Sofer contributed to this report