Israel’s Membership at the United Nations…Pending Issues

On 11 May 1949, the United Nations adopted resolution 273 (III), admitting Israel to membership in the world body. This month Israel celebrates the 50th anniversary of its admittance to the U.N. Yet, after all this time, Israel has still not fulfilled the requirements entailed in that resolution granting its membership. Further, this celebration is being held in total disregard of the strained and antagonistic relationship Israel has had with the U.N. Not only has Israel ignored and failed to comply with countless U.N. resolutions; it has also repeatedly ridiculed this international organization and the positions adopted by the overwhelming majority of its members. Such hostile behavior has culminated with recent statements by Israeli officials unilaterally and illegally declaring null and void the very resolution that serves as the basis for Israel’s own existence.

Over the past fifty years, Israel has blatantly failed to respect its commitments and obligations as outlined in resolution 273 (II), particularly those related to the implementation of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948. Not only does Israel continue to prevent the establishment of the Arab State as recommended by resolution 181 (II), which partitioned Mandated Palestine; it has also continued to deny the right of Palestine refugees to return to their homes and properties or be compensated as called for in resolution 194. Further, Israel has neither respected nor fulfilled the commitments pledged by the representative of the Government of Israel in the declarations and explanations before the Ad Hoc Political Committee at the time of its admittance.

In celebrating this anniversary, Israel ignores its history at the U.N. since its admittance into the ranks of membership. For five decades, Israel has violated and undermined resolution upon resolution of both the Security Council and the General Assembly. There is no other Member State of the U.N. that has violated as many resolutions with impunity. Further, for more than thirty years, Israel has been an occupying Power, illegally occupying Palestinian and Arab territories. Its policies and practices, including the building of colonial settlements, confiscation of land and property, home demolitions, deportations, administrative detention, torture, and closure, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, constitute grave violations of U.N. resolutions, the principles of the U.N. Charter, international law and international humanitarian law.

Among the numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions adopted with regard to the question of Palestine, the Security Council alone has adopted 16 resolutions on Jerusalem since 1948, and since 1967 has adopted 25 resolutions reaffirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, including 5 resolutions on illegal Israeli settlements. However, in defiance of the will of the international community, Israel has not respected or acceded to any of the demands made in any of these resolutions. It has even repeatedly refused to cooperate with fact-finding missions and representatives of the Secretary-General in connection with various resolutions.

Yet, at the same time, Israel plans a celebration of its 50 years at the U.N. and expects the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s unlawful behavior and violations and jubilantly join in the celebration. In this regard, the Arab Group at the U.N. sent a letter, from Algeria as chairman of the Group for May, to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, emphasizing the hypocrisy of such an event in light of Israel’s past and continuing disrespect and violation of U.N. resolutions.

A half-century has elapsed since Israel’s admittance to the U.N. It is high time that Israel fulfills the pledges and commitments it made 50 years ago. Furthermore, it must respect and comply with all U.N. resolutions, international law and international humanitarian law, as well as the peace agreements it has signed. Compliance will necessarily result in the cessation of its illegal policies and practices and lay the foundations for peaceful coexistence between Israel and an independent Palestinian State. Then, Israel can begin a new era at the U.N.