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UN Involvement

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Israel's "Disengagement": The Day After (September 8, 2005)

In this report, the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) argues that the Israeli disengagement does not constitute an end to Israel's military occupation of Palestinian land. They believe that "Jerusalem is being turned into an isolated island and is being de facto annexed to Israel in violation of international law." PNGO is thereby calling on the UN Security Council to compel Israel to abide by the ICJ Advisory Opinion ruling that Israel's Separation and Annexation Wall is contrary to international law.

Palestinians Take Israeli Barrier to UN Security Council (July 21, 2005)

Speaking at a UN Security Council briefing on the Middle East, Palestinian Ambassador Somaia Barghouti said Israel was focusing attention on its Gaza withdrawal while underhandedly pushing its "expansionist colonialist plan" via the wall in occupied Jerusalem. UN Envoy for the Middle East Alvaro de Soto urged both sides to develop a framework agreement for the Gaza pullout that would ensure security for Israelis and hope for Palestinians. (Voice of America)

In the Role of the Rottweiler (May 3, 2005)

This Ha'aretz editorial claims that the "profound change taking place in Israel's foreign and defense policy" has led to a change in Tel Aviv's attitude towards the UN. In this new era, Israel has come to see the world body as a tool to improve regional security. The author argues that the Security Council's calls for Hizbullah to disarm and the international community's efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program have given Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reason to embrace diplomacy. Instead of forcefully dealing with more distant security threats itself, the Israeli cabinet can sit back as it focuses on a unilateral solution to the less distant Palestinian problem.



Just Say No to Vetoes (July 19, 2004)

The impact of the International Court of Justice's ruling on the illegality of Israel's wall extends far beyond Israel and Palestine. This article argues that the Court's holdings "chart a path for the international community to counter the United States' veto power" by appealing to the Court and to binding international law. (New York Times)

US To Veto UN Resolution Condemning Israel (October 5, 2004)

Arab nations submitted a draft resolution at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on October 5 calling for a halt to the weeklong Israeli offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. The US has indicated it would veto any such resolution, saying the resolution would be "one more step on the road to nowhere." The Road Map peace plan, however, has not shown any signs of success. Palestinian UN representative Nasser Al-Kidwa called the Israeli attacks "state terrorism." (Ha'aretz)

Israel Concerned Security Council Reform Could 'Water Down' US Veto (September 21, 2004)

As a permanent member of the Security Council, the US frequently uses its veto power to block resolutions it considers critical of Israel. Security Council reform could spell danger for Israeli reliance on the US veto. Israel is nervous that the recent International Court of Justice ruling against the security fence could lead to "anti-Israel" resolutions if not in the Security Council, then certainly in the General Assembly. (Cybercast News Service)

UN Urged to Deploy Mideast Peacekeepers (May 13, 2004)

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) urged the UN Security Council to authorize a UN peacekeeping mission in the occupied Palestinian territories to help end the violence between Israel and Palestine. NAM chairman Abdullah Ahmad Badawi argued that tension in the Middle East will subside only if international community tackles its root cause—the Israel-Palestinian conflict. (Associated Press)


United Nations Security Council Resolutions Currently Being Violated by Countries Other than Iraq (February 28, 2003)

Foreign Policy In Focusoffers this updated list of countries violating UN Security Council resolutions. The vast majority of the governments are close allies of the US, such as Israel, which has violated resolutions on 32 occasions.

Syria Demands UN Condemn Israeli Attack (October 6, 2003)

The Syrian ambassador urged passage of a resolution condemning Israeli air strikes against Syria, highlighting the harmful effects on regional stability in the Middle East. Yet the US Ambassador focused on chastising Syria for "harboring and supporting" militant Islamic groups. (Associated Press)

Is the UN "Irrelevant" with Regard to Israel Too? (February 18, 2003)

Matthew Riemer discusses the US double standard regarding UN resolutions. It threatens Iraq with war for not fully complying with UN resolutions but when Israel breaks a resolution any preemptive measure is vetoed or neglected by the US. (Yellow Times)

Security Council's Dilemma on Enforcement (February 14, 2003)

The UN has passed dozens of resolutions over the years that have not been carried out. Resolutions concerning Israel, Cyprus and Morocco are some examples of countries' refusal to comply. (CNN)


UN Impotence Over Mid-East Crisis (January 14, 2002)

BBC News addresses the reasons for the UN's failure in resolving the Middle East crisis: the US is too influential and the veto system needs to be reformed.

Israel Sharply Criticized in UN Security Council (July 24, 2002)

The Security Council criticized Israel "for its deadly strike on Gaza City, with nation after nation saying the attack was unreasonable, unacceptable and unwarranted." The fact still remains that the US will oppose any effort to draft a resolution urging Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities. (Reuters

Resolution 242 Reinterpreted (June 12, 2002)

The International Herald Tribune critically comments on Ariel Sharon's "breathtaking" reformulation of Resolution 242, and criticizes "his audacity in the way he invokes history in support of his policies."

Security Council Split Over UN Chief's Decision on Jenin Mission (May 2, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's decision to disband the fact-finding team to Jenin prompted the Arab group to draft a new resolution requesting the Security Council to take "measures" if Israel didn't allow the fact-finding team. (Associated Press)

Arabs Present New Draft Resolution to UN Security Council (April 25, 2002)

At the request of Arab nations, the UN Security Council is holding consultations to discuss a draft resolution requesting Israel's full cooperation with the fact-finding commission and demanding an end to the Israeli military sieges of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah. (Agence France Presse)

Israel Says It Will Allow a Fact-Finding Mission (April 20, 2002)

US diplomats passed a resolution that "welcomes the initiative of the Secretary General, with the cooperation of the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to develop accurate information regarding recent events in the Jenin refugee camp through a fact-finding team." (New York Times)

UN to Consider UK Mideast Proposals (April 19, 2002)

The UK offers a compromise between Arab demands outlined in a new draft resolution and the threat of a US veto. The British proposals would eliminate most of the demands except for a UN investigation of Jenin and calls for Israel to honor previous council resolutions. (Reuters)

UNSC Avoids Immediate Clash Over Arab Call for Jenin Inquiry (April 19, 2002)

The new Arab-sponsored draft resolution requests UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to investigate "the full scope of the tragic events that have taken place in the Jenin refugee camp." The draft also expresses shock at the "massacre" in Jenin and calls on Israel to respect the 1949 Geneva Convention on protecting civilians in wartime." (Agence France Presse)

US and Israel Object to Peacekeepers in West Bank (April 19, 2002)

US officials will veto the introduction of outside forces in the west bank as long as Israel objects. European delegations are consulting with their capitals to offer a substitute resolution endorsing a "third-party presence on the ground" in spite of US opposition. (Los Angeles Times)

Palestinians Demand UN Security Council Vote on New Resolution Ordering Israeli Withdrawal (April 18, 2002)

The US intends to veto a new Security Council resolution drafted by the Palestinian Observer mission if the resolution is put to a vote. The draft calls for "an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, an end to the siege of Yasser Arafat, and a UN investigation into destruction in the Jenin refugee camp." (Associated Press)

US to UN: No More Mideast Resolutions For Now (April 10, 2002)

US officials turn down a Security Council draft resolution circulated by the Arab bloc that calls for international monitors to be sent to the Middle East. The US urges "member states to concentrate their efforts on implementing peace in the region rather than drafting documents in New York." (Jerusalem Post)

Letter to the Security Council Concerning the Middle East Crisis (April 10, 2002)

A letter from 18 prominent NGOs that calls for an end to Israel's 35 year occupation and urges the Security Council to "act forcefully and effectively" to enforce its own resolutions to this end.

As Israel Lags in Pulling Out, Critics at UN Turn Up Heat (April 10, 2002)

Israel's refusal to respect UN resolutions calling for an immediate withdrawal undermines the credibility of the Security Council, argues the New York Times.

Arabs Seek Fresh UN Council Resolution (April 9, 2002)

Despite US objections, Arab nations seek an additional Security Council resolution . The draft calls on Israel withdraw and to "fully and effectively respect" the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. This provision, if adopted, could pave the way for the Council to invoke Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows enforcement measures, including sanctions. (Dawn)

Security Council Adopts Third Resolution on Mideast Crisis (April 5, 2002)

In a 15-0 vote, the Security Council passes a resolution demanding that Israel withdraw its troops from Palestinian cities "without delay". The resolution also endorses US Secretary of State Collin Powell's mission to the Middle East. (Associated Press)

UN Council Grills Israeli, Palestinian Envoys About Violence (April 3, 2002)

Security Council members censure the Israeli and Palestinian UN representatives for their government's failure to "implement recent council resolutions demanding an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian cities." (Associated Press)

UN and European Union Press for Cease-Fire (April 2, 2002)

While the US Mission to the UN appears more flexible in its stance on the Middle East crisis than Washington, the rift between Syria and the Palestinians leaves the Palestinian Observer to the UN without a strong voice in the Security Council. (New York Times)

UN Calls for Israeli Pullout From Palestinian Cities (March 30, 2002)

The Security Council passed Resolution 1402 urging the Israelis and Palestinians to implement a "meaningful ceasefire" immediately. The resolution also calls for "the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah." (Reuters)

UN and the Mideast: Looking Back (March 29, 2002)

The Security Council has addressed the issue of Arab-Israeli relations since World War I. "Here are examples of how the Council has called on the parties to settle half a century of conflict." (New York Times)

Saudi Peace Plan Is Finding Resistance in UN (March 29, 2002)

The Security Council is not likely to endorse the Saudi peace plan immediately as some provisions in the plan run counter to existing Security Council resolutions. (New York Times)

US Role in Resolution on Mideast Startles Some (March 14, 2002)

The adoption of a Security Council resolution on the Middle East surprised everybody. The New York Times reveals how Council members negotiated it and the role the US and Syria played.

If Bush is Having 'Visions', America Must Need Arab Support for Another War (March 14, 2002)

Without a clear link between Resolution 1397 and the Resolution 242 of 1967 that specifically referred to the Israeli occupation, the Independent argues that the current resolution on Middle East peace has left out the thorny land issue to be "resolved later."

Israel, Palestinians Welcome UN Resolution, but Killing Continues (March 13, 2002)

Israelis hail Resolution 1397's"balanced" view compared to previous resolutions that tended to isolate Israel. Palestinians also welcome the resolution as an "advance" for the Palestinian cause. (Agence France Presse)

UN Council Backs Plan for Palestinian State (March 13, 2002)

The UN Security Council has adopted a US-drafted resolution referring for the first time to a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel. (Reuters)

UN Chief Demands Israeli Withdrawal from Refugee Camps (March 1, 2002)

Secretary-General Kofi Annan called upon Israel to withdraw its defense forces from Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. Annan also warned that unless the Security Council takes decisive action on stemming the violence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict risks sliding towards a full-fledged war. (Interpress Service)


General Assembly

UN Condemns Israel Over Jenin (May 8, 2002)

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning Israel's military action in the West Bank's Jenin refugee camp and has called on Secretary General to resurrect his report into the Israeli offensive. (BBC)

Arab and Developing Nations Call for World Condemnation of Israel Mission (May 7, 2002)

South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement at the start of an emergency special session of the General Assembly, declares that the Assembly must now "stand against Israel's defiance of international humanitarian law and human rights." (Associated Press)

UN Assembly Urges Member States To Move Embassies Out of Jerusalem (December 3, 2001)

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a resolution stating that Israel's Basic Law, which proclaimed Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, was "illegal and therefore null and void." The resolution calls on all states with embassies in Jerusalem to move them out of the city. (Agence France Presse)

UN Report Presses Israel to Accept Peacekeepers (October 29, 2001)

An UN General Assembly report by John Dugard argues that an international observer force between Israel and Palestine may help end more than a year of violence in the region. (Reuters). Read the report : "Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967"

Arafat to Speak As UN Talks Shift to Geneva Today (December 13, 1988)

In December 1988, the General Assembly took the unprecedented step of holding a special session in Geneva in order to hear from Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. The Geneva session, called for by a 151-2 vote in the Assembly, was a "serious diplomatic rebuke" to the United States, which had refused to grant Arafat the visa he needed to enter New York. (Boston Globe)

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

Kofi Annan Calls For International "Buffer" Force (June 13, 2003)

In an interview with Haaretz, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan discusses options for salvaging the road map co-authored by the UN. Annan remarked that it is imperative "to fight terror as if there are no negotiations and to conduct negotiations as if there is no terror."

UN Report Rejects Massacre Claim (August 1, 2002)

"A long-awaited UN report rejects Palestinian claims that Israeli forces carried out a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp, but it criticizes both sides for putting civilian lives at risk." (Associated Press)

UN to Press On With Jenin 'War Crimes' Report (May 10, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will ask Israel and the Palestinians to "provide information" on the allegations of war crimes in the Jenin refugee camp instead of sending UN investigators to the West Bank town. (Guardian)

Jenin Dispute Will Be Resolved (April 25, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is "confident that the UN and Israel will resolve their differences over a UN mission to probe Israel's military assault on the Jenin refugee camp." (Associated Press )

Israel Demands Changes in Composition of UN Team Looking Into Jenin Fighting (April 24, 2002)

Israel sends a lobbying team to New York to try and persuade UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to add anti-terror and military experts to the fact-finding team that will look into Israel's military operation in the Jenin refugee camp. (Associated Press)

UN Team Begins Voyage to Middle East After Annan Refuses Israel's Request For a Delay (April 24, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan dismisses Israel's request to delay the UN fact-finding mission to the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin. The three-member UN team and its military and police advisors are meeting in Geneva to coordinate the mission. (Associated Press)

UN Names Jenin Inquiry Team (April 22, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appoints Finland's former President, Martti Ahtisaari, to lead the fact-finding commission at the refugee camp in Jenin. (BBC News)

Annan Calls For Multinational Force in Palestinian Territory (April 18, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urges the Security Council to send an armed multinational force with a "robust mandate" under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to help end the violence in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. (Agence France Presse)

Annan Urges International Force Be Sent to Middle East (April 12, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calls the situation in the Palestinian refugee camps so dangerous — and the human rights situation "so appalling" — that "the proposition that a force should be sent in there to create a secure environment as well as provide space for diplomatic and political negotiation can no longer be deferred." (New York Times)

Leaders Call for End to Mideast Strife (April 10, 2002)

The UN, US, EU and Russia issue a joint statement urging Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territories. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also called on Israel to "fully comply with international humanitarian principles and to allow full and unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations and services.'' (Associated Press)

Kofi Annan's Blunt Words Criticizing Israeli Tactics (March 19, 2002)

Following is the text of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemning the actions of the Israeli Defense Force. (New York Times)

UN Chiefs Must Summon the Courage to Take on Israel (March 12, 2002)

Kofi Annan and the UN should play a greater role in resolving the escalating Israeli-Palestine conflict, writes Professor Amin Saikal in this opinion piece. He believes that few Arabs have any faith in the United States to broker peace in the Middle East. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Statement of Secretary-General on the Situation in the Middle East (March 12, 2002)

In an open meeting with the Security Council, Secretary General Kofi Annan calls on the Israeli and Palestinian people to stop deadly attacks, and on both leaders to urgently take steps towards a political settlement through negotiations.

UN Chief Demands Israeli Withdrawal from Refugee Camps (March 1, 2002)

Secretary-General Kofi Annan called upon Israel to withdraw its defense forces from Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. Annan also warned that unless the Security Council takes decisive action on stemming the violence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict risks sliding towards a full-fledged war. (Interpress Service)

End Arafat 'Arrest', Says Annan (February 13, 2002)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urges Israel to end the house arrest of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Annan reminds Israel that making progress on security-related issues "without addressing the occupation will not bring lasting security." (News Interactive)



Refugees and UNRWA: A Love-Hate Story Half a Century Old (May 1, 2001)

This article records the history of UNRWA, the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees that began its work in 1949. As a result of increased Arab-Israeli violence, civil war in Lebanon and the 1991 Gulf war, UNRWA witnessed a tremendous increase in refugees. Although UNRWA started out as a temporary agency, it remains indispensable to approximately 3.5 million refugees, up from 900.000 in 1949. (Al-Rai)

UNRWA Presents $1.1 Billion Plan to Donors (February 28, 2005)

Following a donor conference held in Geneva in June 2004 to discuss recommendations for humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has unveiled its new Medium Term Plan. In order to improve education, social safety-net services and living conditions, UNRWA calls for $1.1 billion over the next five years "to help the Palestine refugees live in dignity and achieve their ambitions for self-reliance and development." (Electronic Intifada)

Israel Feuds With Agency Set Up to Aid Palestinians (October 18, 2004)

This article highlights the tension between the UN Refugee Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) and the Israeli government. The agency employs 25,000 people, almost all of them Palestinians, causing deep Israeli suspicion towards the refugee organisation's intentions. Israel has accused UNRWA of turning a blind eye towards terrorism, claiming militant groups use the agency to facilitate their "operational activity" and has criticized the agency for employing Hamas members. UNRWA tends to the needs of approximately 700,000 refugees, providing food, housing and education. (New York Times)



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."

UN Human Rights Panel Assails Israel for "Mass Killings" (April 16, 2003)

The UN Human Rights Commission overwhelmingly condemned Israel for the "mass killing" of Palestinians and for its settlement policy in the territories in a series of four resolutions. The US was alone in voting against all four resolutions. (Associated Press)

UN Rights Expert Says Security Fence Between Israel and the West Bank Is "Illegal Annexation" (March 28, 2003)

John Dugard, the UN expert on rights in the Occupied Territories, stated that an Israeli barrier built between Israel and the West Bank represents "de facto annexation" and is illegal under international law. "The wall is being used as a way of expanding Israel's territory," Dugard said. (Associated Press)

Tensions Between Israel, UN Near Boiling Point (December 11, 2002)

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict undermines the relations between Israel and the UN. Israel blames UNWRA for failing to condemn Palestinian acts of terrorism and accuses the UN of "favoring Arab nations by frequently adopting anti-Israel motions." (San Francisco Chronicle)

East Timor Points a Way for Mideast (September 2, 2002)

Citing the UN success in East Timor as an example, this article suggests a reengagement of the UN in the steadily deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories. (Los Angeles Times)

Israel Agrees to Lift Arafat Siege (April 29, 2002)

The Israeli cabinet grants Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat freedom of movement following a personal appeal by US President George Bush. However, the cabinet bars a UN fact-finding commission approved by the UN Security council to investigate alleged human rights abuses during Israel's military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp. (Washington Post)

UN Blasts Israel for Devastation (April 19, 2002)

A UN team visiting Jenin for the first time since its capture calls Israeli military tactics "totally unacceptable" and denounces the government for preventing aid groups from dealing with the humanitarian crisis in the city. (National Post)

Keepers of What Peace? (April 17, 2002)

The Wall Street Journal argues that sending international peacekeepers to end the Israel-Palestine quagmire sounds appealing, but an "appallingly bad idea." Peacekeeping is distinct from military activity and can only work under specific conditions.

Israel Denies UN Mission Entry Into Middle East (April 10, 2002)

The Israeli government denies the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and her delegation, entry into Israel or Palestinian-ruled areas. (Swiss Info)

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