The UN General Assembly’s Economic and Financial (Second) Committee pushed back on the concept of de-facto Israeli annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank on Wednesday night, November 18, approving a draft resolution by a vote of 156 to 6 that called on all nations to ensure that they do not treat the settlements there and in East Jerusalem as a part of sovereign Israel.
The six countries that opposed the resolution on Wednesday were Canada, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and the United States. The entire European Union block of 27 countries as wells the United Kingdom voted for the text. Countries which abstained from the resolution included Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Togo, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Israel formally annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, a move that has never been recognized by the US or the International community. It has never annexed the West Bank settlements, but recently postponed its declared plans to do so.
Resolution 2334 passed by the UN Security Council in December 2016 called on its member states to ensure that they do not participate in acts of de facto annexation. The General Assembly resolution passed on Wednesday of this week “underscored … the call by the Security Council, in its resolution 2334 (2016), upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
Wednesday’s resolution, which comes up for re approval every year, recognizes Palestinian sovereign rights to the natural resources of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and calls on Israel not to exploit these resources. The resolution also condemns Israel’s razing of Palestinian houses and structures built without license. The text states that the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources.” It demands, “that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
The resolution also calls “upon Israel not to impede Palestinian development and export of discovered oil and natural gas reserves.” The resolution affirms the rights of the Palestinians to be compensated for Israel’s use of their natural resources.
The Palestinian Authority representative thanked those countries that supported the resolution, which it said was an affirmation of the rights of Palestinians to the West Bank territory beyond the pre-1967 lines. Urgent international action is needed to bring Israel into compliance with international law, the representative of the PA said.