General Assembly Maintains Its Course
54th Session Overwhelmingly Adopts 20 Palestinian Resolutions

            In fulfillment of the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine until it is solved in all its aspects, the General Assembly dealt effectively with the agenda items concerning the Question of Palestine during its 54th session.  The actions taken led to the adoption of 20 resolutions, in addition to two resolutions related to the occupied Syrian Golan and two resolutions on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. 

            The Palestinian resolutions were considered and adopted under eight separate agenda items, and they were adopted by sweeping majorities, with very similar voting results as the 53rd session. The texts of the resolutions adopted during the 54th session were also similar to the texts adopted last year, with some updating and some changes in the resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. 

Two of these resolutions, Bethlehem 2000 and Assistance to the Palestinian People, were adopted by consensus.  Yet, the Israeli side continued to make it clear that they had joined such consensus grudgingly.  Also this session, for the third year, the U.S., Russia, and Norway were unable to present the draft resolution on the peace process in the Middle East.  This failure stemmed from the objection, to the surprise of many, of the current Israeli government to include a reference to the principle of land for peace in the draft. 

These results were achieved in spite of the Israeli campaign against those resolutions, which culminated in repeated statements made by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. David Levy, accusing the U.N. of continuously adopting “anti-Israel” resolutions.  This claim was countered by the international community, as illustrated by the actions taken in the General Assembly.  In this regard, the international community rejected such an argument, making clear the distinction between “anti-Israel” and “anti-illegal Israeli actions” resolutions and insisting on the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people for achieving justice and peace in the Middle East. 

While General Assembly resolutions are considered recommendations to Member States, many of the Palestinian resolutions are rooted in the principles of the U.N. Charter and based on established international law and international humanitarian law, all of which give those resolutions special strength.  In all cases, the intensity and large quantity of these resolutions and their adoption by the overwhelming majority of Member States – in many cases unanimous, minus Israel and the U.S. – have enormous moral value, which must be respected.  In addition, much of the meaning conveyed and the language used has also been used in resolutions of emergency special sessions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council as well.   Generally, U.N. resolutions on the question of Palestine, representing international legitimacy, will remain the ultimate safety net for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, which will remain the basis for any Middle East peace settlement for it to be just and lasting.