Israelís Position Vis-ŗ-vis the United Nations
As we begin the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly, some Israeli parties have resumed their talks against U.N. resolutions related to the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, calling for the cessation of those resolutions as well as for the termination of U.N. committees on Palestine and Israeli Practices. Those committees are respectively the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.
The rationale given for such a position rests on expectations for a new start for the peace process and expectations for change and a different atmosphere in the region. Those parties argue that peace actually exists and that as a result the U.N. should not be interfering in the situation. This line of thinking is, of course, not new. However, while Israel has always tried to neutralize the U.N. and greatly limit its involvement, such voices and opinions against the U.N. tend to become much louder whenever the peace process appears to have some life in it. The real aim has in fact been to disassociate the Palestinian issue from international law and legitimacy, including the relevant resolutions of the U.N., and to isolate the Palestinian side by severing it from the protection of international law and keeping it under the mercy of the imbalance of power on the ground.
The Palestinian side has consistently rejected any Israeli attempts to neutralize or discredit the U.N. and its responsibility towards the question of Palestine. On occasion, such attempts have unfortunately been supported by the United States. Fortunately, however, the Palestinian position has enjoyed the support of the international community over the years, including the years since the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference began and more specifically since the start of the Oslo peace process.
In this regard, the Palestinian side maintains that the U.N. retains a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is effectively resolved in all its aspects. It also maintains that international law and international humanitarian law continue to apply to the question of Palestine and that the Israeli-Palestinian agreements that have been reached do no negate, and should not substitute, international law.
It is clear that international law and legitimacy provide the only instrument of strength in the hands of the Palestinian people facing the Israeli occupation. This is something that the Palestinian people will not relinquish. The experience of the last few years has proven beyond a doubt the necessity and rightness of this Palestinian position.
Of course, the Palestinian side is ready to take into consideration any progress that may take place on the ground throughout the course of the 54th session of the General Assembly. Any such progress would be reflected in the text of resolutions, whenever relevant and appropriate, in order to ensure that those resolutions are current and seriously reflective of the situation.
Simultaneously, maybe it is time for Israel itself to revise its stance and position towards the U.N. and the international community. Israel should strive to become more positive and cooperative in this regard and it should accept that the principles of the Charter of the U.N. apply in all cases and should accept the rule of law.
In conclusion, the Palestinian side believes that the U.N. has to maintain its positions of principle, maintain its relevant bodies, and maintain all relevant resolutions, including those dealing with the rights of the Palestinian people, the Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, and illegal Israeli settlements, as well as the mandates for the relevant U.N. committees. All of these must be maintained until a final, just settlement is reached between Israel and Palestine. Even at that time, the international community should review the situation and take a deep look to verify whether the principles of the U.N. Charter and norms of international law have been respected and upheld and whether Palestinian rights have in fact been justly and fully realized.