UNGA approves two Egyptian draft resolutions on Al-Quds, Syria's Golan Heights

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Dec 2021

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved on Wednesday three Middle East draft resolutions — two of which were presented by Egypt — rejecting Israel’s efforts to exert its will and authority in Palestine’s occupied city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Syria’s occupied Golan Heights.

UN

A majority of 129 votes approved the Egyptian-drafted resolution on Jerusalem, while the resolution on the Golan Heights was approved by 94 votes, Egypt’s Permanent Representative in the UN Osama Abdel-Khaleq said on Thursday.

The UNGA called for upholding the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, urging collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle Eastern peace process, according to a statement by the UNGA on Wednesday.

Through the adopted draft resolution titled ‘Jerusalem’, the UNGA reiterated its determination that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal.”

Recalling the 2015 United Nations Security Council press statement on Jerusalem — in which the council called for upholding the historic status quo at the Haram Al‑Sharif (Al-Aqsa Compound) — the assembly stressed that a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

As for Syria’s Golan Heights, the assembly declared that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the occupied heights is null and void, demanding that Israel withdraw from the territory.

After introducing the draft resolutions titled ‘The Syrian Golan’ (A/76/L.15) and ‘Jerusalem’ (A/76/L.16), Abdel-Khaleq said the first step to stopping the downward spiral in the Middle East is to put an end to the occupation of all Arab territories occupied on 5 June 1967, specifically occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories. 

He called on the international community to take a decisive position towards respecting international law and resolutions, the most important of which are the United Nations’ resolutions that reaffirm the inadmissibility of annexation of territories by force and the rejection of any unilateral measures or demographic changes in territories under occupation.

During the session, Abdel-Khaleq recalled Egypt’s role in negotiating a ceasefire during the escalation of conflict in the Gaza Strip in May.

“The problem could explode again at any minute,” he cautioned, stressing the need to resuscitate the peace negotiations by holding a ministerial meeting of the Quartet and by deploying efforts to re‑establish trust between the two sides.

The long-frozen Quartet that comprises the UN, the US, the European Union, and Russia was established in 2002 to mediate the negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to reach a two-state solution.

Palestinian suffering continues to be passed down from one generation to the next despite the UN’s resolutions that serve as the basis for the international legitimacy for the State of Palestine, he added.

The Egyptian representative voiced his concern regarding the expansion of settlements, demolition of homes, the Judaization of East Jerusalem, and the blockade on Gaza.

“The burden of all this is greater because of the consequences of the COVID‑19 pandemic.”

As for the Golan Heights, Abdel-Khaleq said that Egypt has been submitting resolutions on the Syrian territory to the UNGA annually, noting that the 2021 draft resolution contains the same language as the 2020 draft with some technical updates. 

It reaffirms that the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War applies to the occupied heights. 

It also reaffirms that settlement construction and any other Israeli activities constitute a change in the demographic nature of the occupied Syrian territory, he stressed. 

The resolution calls on Israel to resume peace talks and withdraw from the heights in accordance with the border lines of 4 June 1967.

Additionally, the UNGA adopted a third draft resolution calling upon Israel to cease all unilateral actions in occupied Palestinian territories and called upon all states to not recognise any changes to the pre‑1967 borders and to not render aid or assistance to illegal settlement activities.

The UNGA reiterated its call for the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

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