A United Nations General Assembly committee endorsed overwhelming on Thursday, November 19, a draft resolution recognizing “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.” Israel and the United States voted against the resolution.
The proposal put forward in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee — the committee that deals with human rights and humanitarian affairs — passed the resolution by a vote of 163 to 5, with 10 abstentions. Canada, which typically votes alongside Israel in such resolutions, stood with the majority. In addition to Israel and the US, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru also voted against the resolution. Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Palau, Papa New Guinea, Rwanda, Togo and Tonga all abstained.
The adopted resolution “stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” based on a two-state solution. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki praised the vote, calling it “a natural response from the international community to the Israeli occupation’s violations, as well as a response to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the colonial Israeli settlements.”
Pompeo visited a winery near the settlement of Psagot on Thursday, the first such visit by a top US diplomat. There, he announced new US guidelines requiring all US exports from the settlements in the occupied territories to be labeled as “made in Israel,” in a reversal of decades-old policy that differentiated between the two sides of the Green Line. Until now, US policy has required products made in the West Bank to be labeled as such. But Pompeo insisted that the US still remains committed to “continue to oppose those countries and international institutions which delegitimize or penalize Israel and Israeli producers in the West Bank through malicious measures that fail to recognize the reality on the ground.”
The Psagot winery is owned by the US capitalist Falic family of Florida, owners of the ubiquitous chain of Duty Free Americas shops. An Associated Press investigation last year found that the family has donated at least $5.6 million to settler groups in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem over the past decade.
According to Hadash MK Youssef Jabareen (Joint List), “Pompeo’s statements and visit to a settlement undermine international law and the principles of justice and peace. The settlements represent an ongoing crime against the Palestinian people; they perpetuate the Occupation and are the primary barrier to establishing a Palestinian state. We call on the incoming president to step away from the dangerous steps taken by the Trump administration.” Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) said, “Pompeo’s intention to label ‘made in Israel’ on settlement goods is one more farewell gift Trump is handing Netanyahu before January. Biden said that settlement activity will ‘choke off any hope for peace.’ Come January we will see whether he truly means what he says.”