NEW YORK, Saturday, July 23, 2022 (WAFA) - The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, consisting of 54 members, adopted yesterday during a meeting in New York by an overwhelming majority two resolutions on the “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”, and “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”.
The first resolution, introduced by the representative of Pakistan, says the Council would call for the full opening of the border crossings of the Gaza Strip, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), to ensure humanitarian access as well as the sustained and regular flow of persons and goods and the lifting of all movement restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people, including those arising from ongoing Israeli military operations and the multi-layered closure system, and for other urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the serious humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which is dire in the Gaza Strip.
Further to the text, it would stress the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods throughout it, as well as to and from the outside world.
It would also stress the need to preserve and develop Palestinian national institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services to the Palestinian civilian population and to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, including economic and social rights.
Tarik Alami, Director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Division of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), speaking via video-teleconference, presented the Secretary-General’s report on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/77/90–E/2022/66). He said Israel’s protracted occupation has had a severe impact on Palestinians and their human rights, and has escalated its use of force, including resulting in deaths and the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza in May 2021.
The Israeli Government has also failed to protect Palestinians from settler violence in the West Bank, and its policies in East Jerusalem have forced people to leave their homes, in what amounts to forced transfer, he said. Those and other policies and actions amount to the collective punishment of 2.1 million Palestinians, with Gaza’s gross domestic product (GDP) being 52 percent lower than in 2005. Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan is a violation of international law, he stressed, with the overall situation worsening during the reporting period.
The speaker for Syria said Israel, per the report, continues to enact policies that counter relevant Security Council resolutions, including increasing the number of settlers in the occupied Syrian Golan. He denounced the confiscation of land and resources there, the planting of landmines and seizure of land for military purposes.
The Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Fida Abdel-Hadi Nasser said millions of people in Palestine including in East Jerusalem are denied their rights by an enduring occupation that has no place in the twenty-first century. The longest foreign occupation in modern history demands that the issue be addressed every year in the Council forum, including a suffocating 15-year blockade on Gaza, which has been referred to as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.
The draft resolution was then adopted by a recorded vote of 43 favor to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Liberia, United States) with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom).
Abdel-Hadi Nasser said the text reflects undeniable facts. She welcomed the solidarity conveyed in the resolution and urged serious efforts to uphold accountability for all human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinians, in contempt of the United Nations and the international community as a whole. Not once today did Israel’s delegate refer to the occupation by his country, perpetuated for 55 years and compelling Palestinians to turn to the United Nations. Palestinians will not be blamed for an injustice that they have endured for decades, since the 1947 partition of historic Palestine, she said.
The Council then turned to a draft resolution titled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” (document E/2022/L.18).
The representative of Pakistan introduced the text on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noting that it addresses the challenges facing Palestinian women and urges continued international support, notably for their protection. It addresses Palestinian women’s engagement in the political and social sphere, reaffirms that Israel’s occupation is the obstacle to fulfilling their rights and calls on Israel to cease all measures contravening international law. It also calls on parties to comply with their obligations, including as States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and reaffirms increasing the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making.
Abdel-Hadi Nasser noted Palestinian women face many hardships and need solidarity in the resolution, citing the murder of female journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in broad daylight.
The Council then adopted resolution “L.18” by a vote of 40 in favor, to 6 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Liberia, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Austria, Croatia, Guatemala, Solomon Islands).