Global Policy Forum

UN Involvement

Source: New York Times

Though the Security Council has "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security," it has not been able to address and resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Council has taken no significant action since 1967, when it passed Resolution 242 calling on Israel to relinquish the territories acquired during its war with Syria and Egypt. The United States has used its influence to keep the issue off the Council's agenda and it has repeatedly used its veto power on Israel's behalf. Council resolutions critical of Israel are almost certain to fail, irrespective of the will of other Council members and regardless of international law and the magnitude of Israel's violations.

The General Assembly has taken a more active role in the conflict, repeatedly taking action and often calling on parties to respect human rights. In 1988, the Assembly took the unprecedented step of holding a special session in Geneva after the United States refused to grant Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat the visa needed to address the Assembly in New York. Israel accuses the General Assembly of having a "pro-Palestinian" bias. Yet the Assembly is unable to compel the parties to work towards peace since its resolutions only have moral and symbolic weight and are not legally binding. Both the Assembly and the Security Council could, of course, be more effective if governments were willing to risk the displeasure and pressure of the United States.

Frustrated by its own impotence and by the inaction of the Security Council, the General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice to evaluate the legal status of Israel's "separation wall." In July 2004, the Court declared the illegality of the barrier. The Security Council has yet to accept and enforce the Court's ruling, however, and the United Nations remains sidelined in the conflict, acting primarily through the Secretary General's special envoys and through its role as a member of the "Quartet."


Security Council

Palestinians to Appeal to UN with Anti-Settlement Resolution (January 2, 2011)

The Palestinian Authority is appealing to the UN Security Council to apply pressure to Israel to halt its settlement expansion into the West Bank. The draft resolution aims to muster international support for the Palestinians and apply pressure to Israel to move forward in the peace process. The document comes after another breakdown of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians this fall, when both parties blamed the other for walking away from the negotiating table. Palestinians are hopeful that the US will not veto the resolution because the content mirrors statements made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. However, the US has made it clear that it would like to see negotiations re-opened rather than political action at the UN. (LA Times)

UN Voices Concern Over Demolitions, Settlement Approval in East Jerusalem (July 13, 2010)

Israeli authorities have approved plans to demolish more buildings, including homes, in preparation to build a new settlement in East Jerusalem.  Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, expressed his concern, saying that this project is in violation of Israel's Roadmap commitments and is "wrong."  Mr. Serry urged all parties to respect international law and avoid provocative actions during this critical moment of peace negotiations. (UN News Centre)

Security Council Resolution, Short of Resolution, Condemns Israel (June 1, 2010)

The Security Council has released a presidential statement concerning the Israel-Palestine flotilla crisis. The presidential statement condemns the acts that killed activists delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, requests Israel to release detained activists, asks for diplomatic transparency, and notes Ban Ki-Moon's recommendation for an investigation. The strongest criticism of Israel came from Turkey, which accused Israel of "banditry and piracy", and four of the five permanent members unambiguously condemned Israel's actions. However, the Council was unable to pass a binding resolution on the matter due to the US unwillingness support a resolution that would criticize Israel. (Inter Press Service)

Expert Says UN Could Bury Goldstone Report (February 25, 2010)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, has stated that UN bureaucracy and the wishes of the US are threatening to bury the Goldstone report and its recommendations. Falk states that the delays "remove the reality" of what happened in Gaza last year. In November 2009, the Israeli government and Hamas were given three months to conduct their own investigations into the Goldstone report; however, neither side's efforts were sufficient. With a US veto expected for any Security Council resolution on Gaza and Ban Ki-Moon not taking strong leadership on the issue, human rights groups for Gaza are exploring alternative avenues for justice.  (Ma'an News Agency)

Palestinian Push for an Independent State Causes Israeli Alarm (November 16, 2009)

Palestinian officials are trying to secure UN backing for an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. This new strategy comes after Israel refused to agree to a total freeze on Jewish settlements buildings in the West bank, a preliminary to talks. The Palestinian leadership would commit political suicide if it was to enter negotiations without a freeze. With negotiations stalling, a unilateral declaration of independence could be a first crucial step toward the formation of a state. Some officials are even drawing a comparison with the diplomatic process by which Israel itself was established: it was first endorsed by UN resolution. (The Independent)

Miguel d'Escoto on Palestine and the UN (October 2009)

"The question of Palestine remains the most serious political and human rights problem on the agenda of the United Nations since its creation," says outgoing General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto in this video interview. He points to the UN's failure to lift the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza as an example of the organization's decadence. Even though all of the organs of the UN - including the Security Council - have called for the blockade to be lifted, the most powerful members have done nothing to force compliance. According to d'Escoto, they are quite comfortable with this. (The Real News Network)

Security Council Mulls Condemnation of Israeli Assault on Gaza (March 2, 2008)

This Daily News Egypt source reports that a resolution condemning the killing of civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces was blocked in the Security Council by the US, threatening to use its veto. The draft resolution, circulated by Libya, urged Israel to abide by international law following the killing of 61 Palestinians in the occupied territory by Israeli forces. The Palestinian representative to the UN, Ryad Mansour, claimed that the assault constituted a "collective punishment" of the people in Gaza. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel for "the disproportionate and excessive use of force that has killed so many civilians, including children," while also condemning the rocket attacks by the Palestinians.

Israeli, Palestinian Envoys Trade Blame at the UN over Gaza (January 22, 2008)

UN Security Council members expressed "deep concern" over the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories. The US, however, thwarted any resolution condemning Israel for blocking food and fuel entering Gaza. While Israeli and Palestinian delegates traded blame over the crisis, Libyan Ambassador and January's Security Council President, Giadallah Ettalhi, stated that measures should be taken within the Council to protect the Palestinian civilian population from "attempts at genocide." (Haaretz)

Palestine Protests Biased UN Reporting (November 21, 2007)

Former under-Secretary General for the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto says that the UN tends to represent Israel and Palestine as a conflict between two equal sides, when in reality Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, with its militaty might. De Soto accuses both Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon of using these misrepresentations as a political cover for US and EU interests in the Middle East. He emphasizes the marginalization of Hamas electoral victories in the occupied territories. (Inter Press Services)

Expert Urges UN to Withdraw from Mideast Quartet Unless Palestinians Rights Respected (October 15, 2007)

John Dugard, the UN Human Rights Council investigator on Israel-Palestine reported that the US led-Mideast Quartet ignores the humanitarian abuse and economic strife imposed by the Israeli government. Dugard suggested the UN withdraw from the Mideast conference unless Palestinian rights are seriously taken into account. According to Dugard, the UN should also request a world court ruling opposing Israel's barrier in the West Bank. Furthermore, the UN should help Hamas and Fatah resume agreements, as he believes this is the best alternative to the crisis. (Associated Press)

UN Warns Israel Over 'Enemy' Gaza (September 19, 2007)

In mid-June 2007, Israel declared Gaza an "enemy entity" and said it will cut off power, water and fuel supplies to Gaza. The US backs Israel's position, while Saeb Erekat, senior Palestinian negotiator, considers the action illegal and believes it will only "complicate matters and breed more violence." UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon condemned the Israeli action and reminded Israel about international humanitarian and human rights law. (al-Jazeera)

Israeli, Syrian Representatives Reach Secret Understandings (January 16, 2007)

This Haaretz article reports that Israel and Syria have been negotiating a secret peace deal between September 2004 and July 2006. Though not legally binding, the agreement carries political weight, covering amongst other things, relations between the parties and military co-operation. Former Director General at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dr. Alon Liel, confirms the covert talks but Israel Radio quotes unnamed senior Israeli officials who deny any such negotiations.

Debate on Sustainable Peace in the Middle East (December 8, 2006)

Following a Qatari proposal, the Security Council will discuss a "lasting peace" agreement in the Middle East. In addition to the debate, the Secretary General will present a report assessing the situation in the region including long term peace recommendations. According to Security Council Report, these initiatives will face strong US opposition. Washington has long prevented Council action on this matter.

US Vetoes Security Council Resolution Assailing Israel for Attacks (November 12, 2006)

Using its veto for the 41st time against a Security Council resolution on Israel's conduct, the US voted against a draft resolution condemning Israel for its disproportionate use of force in Gaza following Israeli attacks in Beit Hanun. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton considered this draft resolution as too "one sided." Although the document also calls on the Palestinian Authority to halt the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, the resolution failed to achieve consensus with four abstentions in addition to the US veto. (New York Times)

UN Officials Voice 'Shock and Dismay' at Deadly Israeli Shelling of Gaza Civilians (November 8, 2006)

Following several days of Israeli military actions in Gaza, UN officials have called on the Israeli government to cease hostilities. While the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories urges the Security Council to act, the top UN body agreed to discuss the violence in Gaza. This Security Council decision coincides with mounting requests for the organization's intervention in the Palestinian Territories to enforce the cease-fire. (UN News)

An International Force in Gaza Is Long Overdue (October 30, 2006)

This Daily Star - Lebanon article suggests that the UN Security Council should send an international peacekeeping force to monitor the border between Gaza and Israel. In light of the UN involvement in Lebanon, observers call for a similar level of commitment from the international organization in the Palestinian Territories. The establishment of an international force would help to break the vicious circle of violence fostered by attacks on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, the article says.

Security Council Must Take Over Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts – UN Rapporteur (October 20, 2006)

A UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories calls on the Security Council "to assume responsibility for finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of leaving it to the diplomatic Quartet." He believes the influential Quartet, including the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States, acts partially when it imposes economic measures on the Hamas government. According to the UN official, the situation in Palestinian territories has worsened since June 2006, and requires talks between Israel and Palestinians on a permanent status accord. (UN News)

Tying the Hands of the United Nations (July 28, 2006)

This Guardian article discusses the frustration and anger at Washington's blocking tactics at the UN Security Council. Following US Ambassador John Bolton's veto of a draft resolution calling for the release of captured Israeli soldiers and the cessation of Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, the US also thwarted a resolution condemning the killing by Israel of the UN's own observers in Lebanon. Senior politicians and former diplomats stress the danger such tactics pose to the Middle East, international peace and security and to the reputation of the UN itself.

Security Council Should Discuss Possible Stabilization Force for Middle East (July 17, 2006)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan argues that the Security Council ought to take practical, "action-orientated" steps to stop the violence that has erupted in the Middle East. He advocates the deployment of a stabilization force in the region. His comments follow Israeli attacks on Beirut and Hezbollah shelling of Haifa. With both sides seemingly indifferent to the suffering of civilians, Kofi Annan again repeated his call that international humanitarian law be respected and urged both parties to make an effort to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure. (UN News)

US Vetoes UN Demand that Israel Leave Gaza (July 14, 2006)

The US vetoed a draft Security Council resolution sponsored by Qatar that called for Israel's immediate withdrawal from Gaza and the release of dozens of Palestinian officials detained by Israel, as well as the unconditional release of an Israeli soldier captured by the armed faction of Hamas. Denmark, Peru, Slovakia and the UK abstained. The US blocked the vote, declaring the text "not only untimely, but already outmoded" due to the rapidly changing situation. Indeed, the situation has escalated after Hezbollah fired rockets at Haifa and Israel retaliated with punishing airstrikes against Lebanon. About 30 of the 81 US vetoes cast over nearly 61 years of UN history have been linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Reuters)

UN Official Calls on Israelis and Palestinians to 'Step Back From the Brink' (June 30, 2006)

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane has warned the UN Security Council that the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip could easily spark off another full-scale conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In a detailed account of how the crisis has developed, she described the kidnapping of 19 year old Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit and the ensuing Israeli operation to secure his release that threatens a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza strip. Participants in the debate stressed the importance of a formal - yet unlikely - response by the Security Council to the situation. (UN News)

UN Worried About Escalating Mideast Violence (April 17, 2006)

Israel and Palestine traded charges during a Security Council open debate, as both parties blamed one another for the increased violence and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Palestinians accused Israel of violating the Geneva Conventions by using excessive and indiscriminate force against Palestinian civilians, while Israel's ambassador dubbed Iran, Syria and Palestine the new "axis of evil" and likened the recent suicide bombings to "declarations of war." Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour urged the Security Council not to remain silent and sit by as the occupying power continued its "illegal policies" and act to make Israel comply with its obligations under international law. (Inter Press Service)

UN Secretariat Keeps Distance from Hamas (April 14, 2006)

Pressured by the US and Israel, the UN has decided to boycott the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Experts question the fairness of the UN's decision, considering Israel's harsh occupation of Palestinian territory. Calling the campaign against Hamas "the latest phase of the onslaught against Palestinian rights," author and Professor Nasser Aruri calls on the UN to uphold its role as the "anchor of international legality" and to reverse its decision. (Inter Press Service)

US Blocks UN Council's Israel Draft (April 14, 2006)

The US blocked a Security Council statement condemning Israeli military strikes on Palestinians targets, as US Ambassador John Bolton judged the statement "disproportionately critical of Israel." The veto power does not apply to Council statements, but Washington was able to block the draft because Council rules require consensus to adopt such statements. According to Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, "it was obvious [that the US] did not want the Council to have a position;" although many of Washington's concerns were accommodated in the text. Mansour accused the US of "shielding and protecting Israeli activities and aggression against the Palestinian people." (Aljazeera)

Archived Articles



General Assembly

UN Affirms Israeli-Hamas War Crimes Report (November 5, 2009)

The UN General Assembly (GA) has passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone Report by a majority of 114 countries in favor, with 18 countries voting against and 44 abstaining. The resolution calls upon both Israelis and Palestinians to undertake independent investigations on alleged war crimes committed during Israel's "Operation Cast Lead." The GA's endorsement comes after the Security Council refused to take a vote on the report in October, and the US House of Representatives rejected it on November 3rd. Despite Israeli and US efforts to bury it, the report is not going away. (IPS)

One UN, Two Fences (July 25, 2004)

Israel used UN decisions to legitimate its fence along the Israel-Lebanon border and its possession of the Shaba farms. The country's rejection of the General Assembly's decision against the separation wall therefore demonstrates Israel's policy of accepting UN resolutions only when politically convenient. (Haaretz)

UN Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Demand Israel Comply with ICJ Ruling (July 20, 2004)

In a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority, the UN General Assembly urged Israel to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which declared the illegality of the separation barrier in the occupied territories in and around the West Bank. The Assembly also called on UN members states to conform to the ruling, which includes not providing "aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction." (UN News Service)

Palestinians Plan UN Resolution on Barrier (July 11, 2004)

Palestinian leaders are writing a General Assembly resolution pressing Israel to comply with the World Court's ruling against the barrier in the West Bank. Despite the limited scope of action possible in the General Assembly, these leaders remain uncertain about whether to refer the issue to the Security Council. The United States would be likely to use its veto power to prevent the Security Council from implementing the Court's decision. (Independent)

World Court Ruling Sought on Israel Fence (December 9, 2003)

The United Nations General Assembly requests an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank. The court's ruling is not binding but carries moral weight and may add to diplomatic pressure on Israel. (Independent)

Israel Circulates Resolution at UN (November 3, 2003)

Israel offered its first ever General Assembly resolution. The draft urges protection for Israeli children and mirrors an Egyptian draft that draws attention to the plight of Palestinian children. (Associated Press)

Israel Rejects UN Resolution on Yasser Arafat (September 21, 2003)

The General Assembly passed a resolution urging Israel to withdraw its threat to "remove" the leader of the Palestinian Authority. The resolution also rebuked Palestinian suicide bombers, but not specific militant groups. (Associated Press)

Arabs Push Arafat Resolution at UN (September 17, 2003)

The General Assembly (GA) will address Israel's decision to remove Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat following a failed Security Council resolution. Unlike Security Council resolutions, GA resolutions are not legally binding, but they highlight global public opinion. (Associated Press)


Archived Articles

International Court of Justice

We Are No Longer Able to See the Sun Set (July 7, 2005)

In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared that Israel's wall confining Palestinian settlements was illegal. A year later, this author argues that although Israeli authorities continue to deny ICJ jurisdiction, the Court's decision provides an important framework for the international community to develop political, economic and diplomatic pressures on Israel, and also offers a legal voice to the sovereignty-lacking Palestinian nation. (Al-Ahram)

World Court Rules Israel's Barrier Illegal (July 9, 2004)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Israel's West Bank barrier violates international law. Acknowledging Israel's right to protect its citizens, the Court said it must do so within the law and should compensate Palestinians for property lost or damaged by the building of the wall. The ICJ urges the UN Security Council and General Assembly to consider further action to end the illegal activity. (Reuters)

Court to Rule on Israeli Barrier (December 20, 2003)

The International Court of Justice will take on the case of Israel's construction of its controversial "security barrier". The hearings will open on February 23, 2004. (BBC)

World Court Ruling Sought on Israel Fence (December 9, 2003)

The United Nations General Assembly requests an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank. The court's ruling is not binding but carries moral weight and may add to diplomatic pressure on Israel. (Independent)


Secretary General

Israel's Gaza Fuel Cuts Alarm UN (October 29, 2007)

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned Israel's action to reduce fuel and electricity to the Gaza strip, he also urged Hamas to stop bombing Israeli territory. Israel wants to shut down these resources for 15 minutes in response to each attack, and the "cut off" time will escalate according to the number of assaults. According to the Secretary General, more than a million civilians in Gaza suffer already from a humanitarian crisis and the cuts will make the situation even worse. Both Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups filled a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court against the government's sanctions. (BBC)

No Clash of Civilizations, Says UN Report (November 14, 2006)

A report backed by the UN Secretary General rejected the concept of "clash of civilizations" which the media often uses when reporting on Middle East conflicts. Politics rather than cultural differences raise tensions between regions, the report says. The report argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents the center of global tension because it "has taken on a symbolic value that colors cross cultural and political relations." The authors of the report recommend that education play a central role for a better understanding between the West and Muslim countries. (Christian Science Monitor)

Security Council Should Discuss Possible Stabilization Force for Middle East (July 17, 2006)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan argues that the Security Council ought to take practical, "action-orientated" steps to stop the violence that has erupted in the Middle East. He advocates the deployment of a stabilization force in the region. His comments follow Israeli attacks on Beirut and Hezbollah shelling of Haifa. With both sides seemingly indifferent to the suffering of civilians, Kofi Annan again repeated his call that international humanitarian law be respected and urged both parties to make an effort to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure. (UN News)

Secretary General Sends Top Advisors to Middle East to Diffuse Crisis; Calls Key Leaders (July 13, 2006)

Following the escalation in the violence in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has sent three of his closest advisors to the Middle East and has engaged in extensive "telephone diplomacy" with leaders from the region and from around the world in attempt to end the fighting. He expressed particular concern at the killing of civilians following Israeli bombing of Beirut and Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli towns. He reminded the parties of their obligations under the law of armed conflict. He again stressed the importance of addressing the impending humanitarian disaster in Gaza. (UN News)

Annan Warning on Gaza 'Disaster' (July 9, 2006)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged Israel to allow UN relief agencies access to the Gaza Strip and to lift restrictions on food and basic goods in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. An Israeli strike on the region's only power station has left hospitals with only two weeks of fuel, has put sanitation facilities in a critical state and has created huge shortages of food and water. The World Health organization and UNICEF both warn of a public health disaster if immediate action is not taken. (BBC)

Annan Takes First Steps on Barrier Claims (January 11, 2005)

Following up on a July 2004 General Assembly resolution, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has outlined a framework establishing a register for Palestinians who wish to submit damage claims and receive adequate compensation. The register will include damage claims resulting from the building of Israel's barrier. The same resolution urged Israel to demolish the wall dividing the Jewish State from Palestinian Territories, but its non-binding nature has rendered the resolution ineffective. (Associated Press)

Archived Articles






UN Warns of Gaza 'Breaking Point' (September 8, 2006)

For two months, Israel has imposed an aggressive siege on Gaza, carried out illegal military operations and created "suffering and mass despair, rather than any desire for political compromise." The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency calls for an international peacekeeping force to monitor the Israeli-Gaza border and allow people to move freely in and out the territory. (BBC)

Archived Articles




Palestinian State-Building: A Decisive Period (April 13, 2011)

This report from the Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process highlights that the Palestinian Authority has made significant progress in state-building. However, it is reaching the limit of its state-building capacity given external constraints. One of the main conclusions of the report is that “measures of occupation which stifle Palestinian life are not being fundamentally rolled back by far more reaching Israeli actions to match the progress of the state-building programme." (UNSCO)

UN Rep. Backs Declaration of Palestinian State in Next Year (October 26, 2010)

UN Special Middle East Peace Negotiator Robert H. Serry reportedly told Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that the UN will support the declaration of an independent Palestinian state. All international players are in agreement that the Palestinians are ready for statehood shortly, said Serry. Fayyad's declared goal is to have an independent Palestinian state by summer 2011 and is incrementally building up national institutions to prepare Palestinians to successfully manage their own affairs. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli and Palestinian Probes into Gaza Conflict Not Sufficient, says UN Expert (September 21, 2010)

In March, the UN Human Rights Council established a panel of independent experts to monitor and assess domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by Israel or Palestine in response to the allegations raised last year in the Goldstone Report.  A UN monitoring committee stated recently that Israeli and Palestinian investigations into serious human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law have so far been inadequate. The most serious alleged crimes by both parties have still not been investigated. Thus far, Israel has made just one criminal conviction - based on the charge of credit card theft. (UN News)
Building materials for school construction have not been approved by Israel to enter the Gaza Strip since 2007. Thus, 40 000 Palestinian children eligible to enroll in UN schools this year have been turned away. Israel approved school supplies for the first time in three years, which means some children have pencils and notebooks but no classrooms in which to use them. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel repeatedly to end its blockade on Gaza but in the meantime the right of children to be educated is still being violated. (UN News)
Richard Goldstone, author of the UN report on Operation Cast Lead, argues that the report was not biased and that it promoted international justice. He notes how Israeli involvement and cooperation with the Goldstone Report was encouraged from the beginning, and that the Israeli government denied the requests. Also, Goldstone asserts that if Israel had presented a credible counter-report, the considerations would have been taken into account - unfortunately, such a report was not forth-coming.  (Guardian)
The UN Human Rights Council has issued five condemnatory resolutions against Israel, the most numerous ever issued against a single country. The resolutions address: human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the Palestinian right to self-determination, the illegal Israeli settlements, the grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a follow-up to the Goldstone Report. The US voted against all five resolutions (Global Research).

"Probe by Israel Would Stop UN Push" (October 19, 2009)

In a conference call organized by Taanit Tzedek-Jewish Fast for Gaza - a group composed of US rabbis - Richard Goldstone speaks out on the reasons why he accepted to head the UN fact-finding mission in Gaza, the methodology of the investigation and its findings. According to Goldstone, evidence shows that attacks again civilians by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead were not accidental but deliberate. However, Israel could prevent the case from being examined by the Security Council - and potentially the International Criminal Court - if it conducts its own investigation. Additionally, a probe by Israel might push Hamas to do the same. (Jerusalem Post)

Why The Goldstone Report Matters (September 22, 2009)

The Goldstone Report, reaching the conclusion that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War, confirmed previous findings by various human rights organizations and added in effect little to what was previously known. Israel has nonetheless responded particularly virulently, accusing the fact finding mission of being one-sided and biased. This strong rebuttal of the report highlights the importance of the "Legitimacy War" between Israel and the Palestinians. (Middle East Online)

Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (September 15, 2009)

After six months of investigation, the UN mission headed by Richard Goldstone has found evidence that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law during the Gaza War of January 2009. The 575-page report states that a failure by the parties to conduct investigations on these crimes should result in a referral to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council.

UN Accused of Undermining Palestinian State (June 15, 2007)

An exit report by former UN envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, asserts that US pressure biases the UN and undermines the goal of a Palestinian state. The report claims that the Bush administration and Israel trained elements of Fatah and encouraged them to engage in conflict with Hamas. Despite these incriminating allegations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon commented simply that the report represents de Soto's "personal view". (Inter Press Service)

Secret UN report Condemns US for Middle East Failures (June 13, 2007)

This Guardian article reports on former UN Middle Eastern envoy Alvaro de Soto's leaked "End of Mission Report". The report condemns the Quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN as a "side-show", especially in light of how US pressure has "pummeled into submission" the UN's mediatory role in the Middle East. According to de Soto, the Quartet's boycott on Palestine after Hamas' election was a turning point which destroyed perceptions of alleged UN and Quartet impartiality.

UN Envoy Hits Israel 'Apartheid' (February 23, 2007)

UN Human Rights Envoy John Dugard compares Israel's discrimination against Palestinians to apartheid and condemns Israel's response to counter the missile threat from Gaza in 2006 as "grossly disproportionate and indiscriminate." Dugard also criticizes Israel's tight border control which restricts the flow of goods and people in and out from Gaza, exacerbating the Palestinian territory's economic problems. He concludes that many of Israel's laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (BBC)

OCHA Report on the Agreement on Movement and Access - One Year On (November 2006)

One year after Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed an Agreement on movement and access to Gaza strip, Israel has considerably restrained Palestinian access to the West Bank and the outside world, invoking "security reasons." According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), such limitation on Palestinian movement has led, since March 2006, to serious constraints on economic activities, mounting unemployment and increased violence in Gaza. Some observers qualify the worsening of the situation in Gaza to a "siege" of the Palestinian territory.

A Measure of International Seriousness (September 18, 2006)

The deployment of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon to monitor the implementation of Resolution 1701 has encouraged Palestinians to raise the possibility of deploying international forces in the West Bank and Gaza to supervise the Road Map or any other peace plan in the Israel-Palestine conflict. (

Statement on Gaza by United Nations Humanitarian Agencies Working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (August 3, 2006)

UN humanitarian agencies working in the Gaza Strip describe the impact of the continuing violence on civilians and the damage caused to civilian infrastructure. As world attention focuses on the conflict in Lebanon, 1.4 million people, more than half of them children, face food shortages, lack of vital health care and a scarcity of the power needed to access water. In addition to the killing of civilians and the destruction of homes, the Israeli military campaign threatens to severely damage the Gaza Strip as a sustainable location to live. (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

Palestinians Ask UN to Act over W. Bank Barrier (July 11, 2005)

One day after Israel renewed construction of the wall in the West Bank, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa asked the UN to help impose "punitive measures against entities, companies and individuals" participating in construction. Sanctions are unlikely due to US veto power on the Security Council, but Reuters suggests that General Assembly recommendations could lead to boycotts "similar to those used effectively against South Africa over apartheid."

Archived Articles


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