Statement by: Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, 17 May 1995:

(Original: Arabic)

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all the members of the Council who voted in favor of the draft resolution, which was just voted upon. The overwhelming support for the draft resolution, expressed in the voting of 14 members of the Council in favor of the draft, is a genuine demonstration of the clear and decisive position of the international community against the illegal Israeli action to confiscate lands in occupied East Jerusalem.

I would like also to express our deep appreciation to the members of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) who are members of the Council, which include Botswana, Honduras, Nigeria, Indonesia, Oman and Rwanda, for their cosponsorship of the draft resolution, as well as their introduction of it before the Council, and their decisive insistence to uphold the principled positions of the Non-Aligned Movement. We are proud of the position taken by these countries and of the unity of the NAM caucus with regard to this very important and fundamental issue, the issue of Jerusalem.

We are also proud of the solid stance and unity of the Arab and Islamic positions towards this central issue to both the Arab and Islamic worlds.

With all that being said, I would like to further state that the clear positions of a large number of countries vocalized before your august Council should be viewed as a real achievement in favor of justice, international law and the Charter of the United Nations. It should be understood as a clear message to the concerned parties. To the Palestinian and Arab party it is a message of support and solidarity from the international community for the essence of the Palestinian position with regard to Jerusalem. To the Israeli side it is a message of decisive rejection by the international community of the Israeli confiscation orders and all illegal Israeli measures in the Holy City, including the expansion of the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, the annexation of Jerusalem and the pronouncement of the city as the capital of Israel and the excavations under Al- Aqsa Mosque.

Mr. President,

Unfortunately, despite the clear stand taken by the international community, the Security Council was intentionally prevented from expressing itself and from assuming its duties and implementing its responsibilities by the casting of a veto by the United States of America. This American position, while it cannot conceal the real position of the international community, which has just been mentioned above, without a doubt will cause harm to the Security Council itself and to the pattern of prevailing international relations. In addition, it will cause harm to the United States itself and to its commitment to international law and to its role as a cosponsor of the peace process. Lastly, it will cause harm to the peace process itself in a most severe manner.

As is known, this veto today is the first political veto since the end of the Cold War and comes at a time when the world had begun to think that the prevailing pattern of international relations was beyond such a practice, at least in this form, while there exists international consensus on a position different from the position of the concerned permanent member.

With regard to the United States itself, it is very hard to understand how a superpower, party to the Fourth Geneva Convention and all relevant Security Council resolutions, could vote against the provisions of the Convention and those of the Council's resolutions. In reality, this vote contravenes the supreme law of the land. Then comes the general political meaning of the American position with regard to the Arab and Islamic countries, in particular those who enjoy a friendly relation with the United States. This position totally ignores the strong positions expressed by these countries and did not take their positions into consideration, nor did it take into consideration the centrality and sensitivity of Jerusalem to those countries, which consider Jerusalem to be a red line. Tampering with it will surely produce dire consequences sooner or later.

We believe that the use by the United States of the right of veto will complicate the peace process in the region and will not help its parties in the negotiation process. We also believe that this veto runs contrary to foundation of the peace process and to the Palestinian participation in it. By this we refer to the American letter of assurances to the Palestinian side. We believe it is the duty of the American side, and would be favorable for the continuation of the peace process, for the American side to reaffirm to the Palestinian side their commitment to the full contents of this letter. We also believe that a more neutral and balanced U.S. position towards the parties to the conflict in the Middle East would definitely contribute to the success of the peace process. Any attempt to deviate from that, as we are witnessing today, will complicate the process and will lead to the loss of credibility on its part.

Mr. President,

It is unfortunate that Jerusalem, the key to peace, has become the issue upon which the American side has chosen to exercise its veto power. This is a step considered by many as clear backing for the Israeli action and an attempt to legalize it, preventing the international community from sending a decisive message to the Israeli Government about the dangers of its action and the negative consequences on the peace process.