The Main Committees of the United Nations General Assembly are:
The Disarmament and International Security Committee (First Committee);
The Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee);
The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee);
The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee);
The Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth Committee) ;
The Legal Committee (Sixth Committee).
Each Main Committee has a Chairman, three Vice-Chairmen and a Rapporteur who are elected every year 'on the basis of equitable geographical distribution'.
These officers are traditionally elected by acclamation, because there is usually only one canidate nominated for each office. The General Assembly's Rules of Procedure (Rule 103) states 'The elections shall be held by secret ballot unless the committee decides otherwise in an election where only one candidate is standing.'
The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee):
The Special Political and Decolonization Committee deals with a variety of subjects which include those related to decolonization, Palestinian refugees and human rights, peacekeeping, mine action, outer space, public information, atomic radiation and University for Peace.This year the Group of Western European and Other States nominated an Israeli, Mordechai Amihai, to be one of the vice-chairs of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee).
While last year the EU in its statement to the Fourth Committee stated:
The votes on the Main Committees' officers were held in the General Assembly on Wednesday.
EU Statement - United Nations 4th Committee:
Israeli Practices Affecting Palestinian People
Summary: 8 November 2013, New York - Statement delivered by Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the United Nations General Assembly 68th Session Fourth Committee - 23rd Meeting Agenda item 53: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
The European Union deplores continuing Israeli plans and activities to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Let me also reaffirm the long-held position of the European Union that settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-State solution impossible. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, should cease immediately. New construction plans should be abandoned.
The European Union condemns in the strongest terms continuing settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians. We call on the Government of Israel to protect Palestinian civilians from violence, bring the perpetrators of any such acts to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.
The European Union and its Member States also express their deep concern about the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, which is its main land reserve. We are particularly concerned by the instances of collective demolitions in recent months, often resulting in the displacement of Palestinians, including Bedouin communities. ...
In response to the nomination of Mr. Amihai the Group of Arab States requested that he not be elected by acclamation, as is traditionally done, and that a secret ballot be held, as specified in the General Assembly's Rules of Procedure.
The representatives of Israel, the UK, the US, and Canada denounced the request of the Group of Arab States.
Speaking before the action, Israel’s representative called the vote an assault on the rules and norms of the United Nations, asking delegates whether it served the General Assembly’s interests or the “hate-filled politics of a small group of nations”. The Arab Group had presented “fictitious and unfounded” claims, questioning Israel’s eligibility to serve as Vice-Chair and standing against the 28 Western European and Other States. The vote had set a dangerous precedent, allowing the Organization to be degraded and discredited, he said.
Remarks on U.S. Support for the Election of Mordechai Amihai of Israel as Vice Chair of the Fourth CommitteeThe secret ballot was held. Mr. Amihai recieved 74 votes and was elected because only 39 votes were needed for him to be elected.
Rosemary A. DiCarlo
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY
June 18, 2014
Thank you Mr. Chairman. The United States has asked for the floor to express its regret that a vote was called on the selection of the Israeli delegate as a vice chair of the Fourth Committee. We also regret the decisive and politicized rhetoric we have heard today from those who called for this vote. We believe that, consistent with its usual practice, this body should have elected the Israeli delegate by acclamation. The United States wishes to express its unequivocal support for the election of our Israeli colleague. Mr. Amihai will serve as a worthy and excellent vice chair of the committee, and we congratulate him. Thank you.
Guy Rayée, from Belgium, and Iselin Hebbert Larsen, from Norway, each received one vote.
Sixty-eight countries abstained and 15 votes were declared invalid.
The Jerusalem Post categorized Mr. Amihai's election as a victory for Israel at the UN.
Israel scores victory at UN:
Elected to committee on Palestinian refugees
NEW YORK - Mordechai Amihai, Israel’s former consul-general in Turkey, is to represent the Western European and Others Group in the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in September on the Fourth Special Political and Decolonization Committee, which deals in part with Palestinian refugees.