Amr Abdel Latif Abu Al-Atta, Egypt's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations – courtesy United Nations
CAIRO – 4 December 2017: The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of two Egyptian draft resolutions submitted to the UN Security Council, declaring Israel’s actions in the Syrian Golan and East Jerusalem “null and void.”
The United Nations adopted on December 1 the draft resolution “Jerusalem” (document A/72/L.11), that banned any actions by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on Jerusalem, the UN’s website reported.
The Assembly issued the resolution with 151 votes in favor, while six members, including Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States, and Israel itself rejected it.
Nine member states abstained, including Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan and Togo.
The UN’s report following the voting session mentioned that the American representative expressed his opposition, saying “the biased and one-sided resolutions undermined efforts to achieve peace between the parties.”
On the other hand, the second resolution, also introduced by Egypt, “The Syrian Golan” (document A/71/L.17), was adopted by a vote of 105 in favor to six against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom, United States) with 58 abstentions.
The assembly declared that Israel had failed to comply with Security Council resolution No. 497 (1981) and demanded its withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan, the UN website reported.
Amr Abdel Latif Abul Atta, Egypt's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, said that the draft referred to Israel’s insistence to violate all relevant UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions applied to the lands occupied by Israel. He added that “L.17” called on Israel to fully withdraw from the Syrian Golan, and urged the international community to settle this issue, being related to broader challenges in the Middle East.
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights from Syria in the six days war of 1967. Israel built a number of settlements in the Golan soon after the war. Merom Golan was founded in July 1967 and by 1970, 12 settlements had been constructed. In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory.
The United States considered the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights to be a violation of international law, including both the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force and United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 242.
Regarding the Palestinian Cause, Abul Atta called for the realization of the Palestinian people’s right to freedom of belief and called for an end to all of Israel’s excavation and destruction of holy sites.
He pointed out that Egypt had recently sponsored the signing of a reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian factions on October 12 in Cairo. He called on the international community to take advantage of the historic opportunity and push the peace process based on the two‑State solution.
“Both the Israelis and Palestinians would continue to have a claim to the Holy Land,” he added, emphasizing the importance of finding a rational solution.
Representatives of Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo in October in the second round of reconciliation negotiations between the two parties in the Egypt-brokered initiative.
After many failed attempts, a significant breakthrough was achieved in the reconciliation talks between the two Palestinian factions. For the first time since 2014, internationally recognized Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah held a governmental meeting in Gaza — a move that recovered hopes in ending the deepest rift Palestine has ever experienced.
Palestinian delegations of both Fatah and Hamas rival parties after reaching a reconciliation deal in Cairo, ending a decade-long division - Photo by Essam el-Shamy/Egypt Today