Assembly Adopts Watered-down Resolution on Status of Jerusalem

The special emergency session of the General Assembly adopted a watered-down Pakistan resolution this weekend repeating its request in a previous resolution of July 4, calling on Israel to “desist forthwith” from any action altering the status of Jerusalem. The resolution, which was cosponsored by Afghanistan, Mali, Guinea, Iran, Somalia and Turkey, was adopted by 99 votes to 0 with 18 abstentions. The United States was among the countries abstaining. Israel did not participate in the vote.

After noting “with the deepest regret and concern” Israel’s non-compliance with the earlier similar resolution, the latest action again told Israel to “rescind all measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any action which would alter the status of Jerusalem.”

A clause in the latest resolution requesting the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the measure was weaker than the earlier resolution in that it failed to specify a time limit for the report.

The original draft of the resolution included a clause requesting the Security Council to ensure implementation of the resolution by Israel. As phrased, the clause could have been interpreted as a request to the Council to impose sanctions. After consultations, Pakistan modified this clause a few hours before the voting and then, at the last moment, to ensure passage of a resolution without delay, deleted it entirely.

The Pakistani-Arab haste in pressing the resolution to a vote on Friday — the voting had been scheduled for next Tuesday — was reportedly dictated by fear that an interim announcement of an understanding between Israel and the Vatican on the future administration of the holy places would have, in the eyes of most delegations, made such a resolution unnecessary.

Explaining Israel’s non-participation in the vote, Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban said that the resolution ignored the “affirmative aspect” of Israel’s unifying measures in Jerusalem, was inaccurate about the factual situation there and had juridical weakness.

Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, in explaining the U.S. abstention on the vote, said that a durable peace in the Middle East would not be achieved by resolutions dealing with only one aspect of the problem. He stressed, however, that the United States did not “recognize or accept” the measures taken by Israel and regarded them as “interim and provisional.”

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