Some 157 UN member states yesterday voted in favor of a resolution affirming Palestinian sovereignty over their natural resources.
Seven countries – Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the United States – voted against the motion, with 14 abstentions.
The General Assembly adopted the draft on "Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources". Members went on to demand "that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan."
In addition to calling "on Israel, the occupying Power, to halt all actions, including those by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their water and land resources, posing an environmental, sanitation and health threat to civilian populations."
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Welcoming the decision, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said: "Voting in favour of this resolution affirms the rights of the Palestinian people and their sovereignty over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources."
Al-Maliki called on Israel to "stop exploiting the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory."
He also called on the international community to "work to compel the occupation to implement international resolutions and to ensure the freedom of the Palestinian people to benefit from their natural resources."
At the UN meeting, the representative of Israel said that the Committee "preferred to criticise his country rather than take part in sincere dialogue and move forward with its agenda," the international organisation wrote on its website.
Whilt the representative of Syria said the draft "shows a commitment to the Palestinian and Golan people's rights over their natural resources."