Chair of the Delegation of Canada Marc-Andre Blanchard addresses the 73rd session of the UNGA [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]
A United Nations General Assembly committee endorsed on Thursday by an overwhelming majority a draft resolution recognizing "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine."
163 states voted in favor. Only five states – Israel, the United States, Micronesia, Nauru and the Marshall Islands – voted against the draft resolution, while Australia, Rwanda and eight others abstained. Canada, which typically votes alongside Israel in such resolutions, stood with the majority.
The resolution emphasized “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine” and “stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” based on a two-state solution.
It is part of a large package of 20 pro-Palestinian resolutions that are passed by the General Assembly every year, which the Israeli Mission to the UN has long claimed proves the bias of the international forum.
Last year, Canada voted in favor of a nearly identical resolution, with its envoy justifying the move as a response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to repudiate a State Department legal opinion that deemed Israeli settlements to be illegal. In previous years, Canada had voted alongside Israel, but refusing to do so for a second straight year indicated that the vote was a principled stand.
“Canada’s vote today is a reflection of our longstanding commitment to the right of self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Canadian envoy Bob Rae said in an address to the General Assembly, noting the draft’s support for a two-state solution.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki praised the vote, calling it “a natural response from the international community to the Israeli occupation’s violations, as well as a response to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the colonial Israeli settlements.”
Pompeo visited a winery near the settlement of Psagot on Thursday, the first such visit by a top US diplomat. There, he announced new US guidelines requiring all US exports from Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank to be labeled as “made in Israel,” in a reversal of decades-old policy that differentiated between both sides of the Green Line.