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UN General Assembly Reaffirms Palestinian Sovereignty

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UN General Assembly

On December 3, 2020, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 75/236 entitled: “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.”

The resolution passed with 153 countries voting in favor, 6 against, and 17 abstaining.  The only countries to vote against were: Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, United States of America.

The resolution reiterated the numerous preceding resolutions, both from the General Assembly and the Security Council, “affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, …  Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

The resolution also recalled the International Court of Justice advisory opinion relative to the wall constructed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The resolution focused especially on environmental concerns.  The resolution expressed concern about “the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, …the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the uprooting of a vast number of fruit-bearing trees and the destruction of farms and greenhouses, and the grave environmental and economic impact in this regard.”

The resolution expressed “grave concern also about the widespread destruction caused by Israel, the occupying Power, to vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip.”

The resolution stressed the urgency of “the reconstruction and development of water and other vital civilian infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip.”

Other grave concerns relative to Gaza included “negative impact on the environment and on reconstruction and development efforts of unexploded ordnance, … the chronic energy shortage in the Gaza Strip and its detrimental impact on the operation of water and sanitation facilities.”

The resolution stressed the urgency in ending the Israeli occupation, freezing settlement activity, and the need to end all acts of violence, provocation, and destruction.

The resolution called upon Israel to “cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, and to cease its demolition and confiscation of Palestinian homes and civilian infrastructure, agricultural lands and water wells.”

The resolution concluded with encouraging “all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard to all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”