Syria crisis makes Israel/Palestine peace a matter of life and death

April 30, 2013
Sarah Benton
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The Security Council discusses the ‘situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question’ on April 24. Photo by UN/Evan Schneider

With Syrian crisis threatening entire Middle East, UN official urges Israeli-Palestinian progress

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefs the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. 

By UN News Centre
April 24, 2013

With a “grim” tragedy unfolding in Syria, the United Nations Political Chief told the Security Council today that at this moment of increased risk across the entire Middle East, rapid action was needed not only to address the impact of that crisis, but also to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front.

“As the situation inside Syria continues to deteriorate, it is even more vital that everyone collectively work towards preserving regional stability,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs said, briefing the Council ahead of day-long debate on the situation.

However, he added, “The desire for peace must be cultivated by early measures to reverse negative trends on the ground and build trust.”

He said that the fragile hope triggered by renewed United States engagement must be translated into serious efforts by the parties, maintaining that last month’s visit to the region by President Barak Obama marked an important opening.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with President Obama on 11 April, agreeing there was a window of opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations.

“Now is the time for the international community to work in a concerted manner and without delay,” Mr. Feltman said, recalling that Arab leaders at the recent Doha Summit had reconfirmed their intention to send a ministerial delegation to Washington, D.C. on 28 April to discuss the peace process.

Yet, he acknowledge, much depends on whether the parties have the political will to create conducive conditions for resuming a political process.

Noting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had on 13 April accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mr. Feltman said the United Nations remained committed to working with its Palestinian partners, under the leadership of President Abbas, towards state building and development.

Outlining recent developments, he said Israel and Palestine had reached an important agreement on 23 April at the Executive Board of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), allowing an experts mission to visit the Old City of Jerusalem in mid-May.

However, serious challenges to overall progress remained, he said. The financial viability of the Palestinian Authority was still at risk, he confirmed, reiterating the call for more financial support.

He said that the Palestinian budget approved for the 2013 fiscal year reflected fiscal discipline yet revealed the Authorities increased dependence on external aid to cover its short-term expenses. Total spending would hit 3.8 billion, more than half of which was for wages.

In addition, he said the past month has seen a “considerable” increase in Palestinian casualties, mostly resulting from new clashes with Israeli security forces during Palestinian demonstrations that had grown violent.

Wide protests throughout the West Bank on 30 March were relatively contained compared to previous years, but nonetheless had seen 22 Palestinian protesters and four Israeli soldiers injured.

In all, Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank had carried out a total of 303 operations, versus 186 in the last reporting period. But violence levels had nearly doubled, with Israeli security operations having resulted in two Palestinian teens dead and 724 injured. A total 354 Palestinians were arrested, including leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

As for Syria, he recalled that the Council had been briefed only five days ago on the situation there by senior United Nations humanitarian officials. He called for quick action to address the humanitarian situation unfolding inside and outside that war-torn country, adding that Lebanon and Jordan were on the frontline and must also be effectively supported.

EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”

From EU@UN, New York
April 24, 2013, New York

Thomas Mayr-Harting, the British-born Austrian diplomat, now  EU Head of Delegation to the United Nations, Photo by APA (epa/Archiv)


Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

1. The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Albania, align themselves with this statement.

Mr President,

2. Let me start with the Middle East Peace Process: ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region. For this reason, the European Union reiterates the urgency of renewed, structural and substantial peace efforts in 2013.

3. The EU commends and supports the diplomatic efforts currently deployed by the United States to facilitate this process, including the personal commitment by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, and urges the parties to engage in good faith and with the necessary political will.

The EU also recalls the particular importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, which provides regional support for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

4. The European Union is aware of the obstacles which stand in the way of a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians but it also believes that a decisive breakthrough is possible and, that it must take place very soon. Waiting for supposedly better circumstances is not an option, as the time for implementing a two-state solution is running out.

5. The EU reiterates that Israeli settlement activities, which are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and undermine the viability of the two-state solution. The EU recalls its longstanding concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge.

6. The new opportunity for peace must be seized and must be about more than simply getting the parties back to the negotiating table. Greater mutual confidence between the parties needs to be created. An appropriate framework, including parameters, is needed for negotiations to have a chance of succeeding in a reasonable timeframe.

7. The European Union stands ready to give active and concrete support to these efforts, with all the instruments at its disposal. The emphasis that the EU has placed in recent months on economic development in the occupied Palestinian territory – in particular in Area C of the West Bank – is fully in line with the options and initiatives currently under discussion. The European Union is ready and willing to take its support to the next level, to help ensure that resumed direct substantial negotiations between the parties are successful.

8. In the same spirit, the European Union remains fully supportive of ongoing efforts aiming at Palestinian reconciliation under the leadership of President Abbas in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011.

9. The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the latest rocket fire from Gaza and rocket attacks against the Israeli city of Eilat and reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel. It is vital that all parts of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities are implemented. In the same line, the EU also urges once again the full implementation of UNSCR 1860 in all its parts.

The EU will also continue to work to reduce actions on the ground which threaten the success of a renewed talks process.

10. The European Union understands that Salam Fayyad has decided to resign as Palestinian Prime Minister but that he will, for the time being, remain at the head of a caretaker government. The EU commends him for the remarkable results he achieved in institution building and in strengthening the rule of law over almost 6 years in a very challenging role. It recalls that, as the largest donor to the Palestinian authority, the EU played a major role in bringing about these achievements, which led international financial institutions to declare that the PA is above the threshold for a functioning state. The European Union stresses, in this regard, the importance of the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal sustainability and economic viability. It underlines the necessity for the transfer of Palestinian tax and custom revenues to be made in full and on a regular basis.

Mr President,

11. If an agreement to finally end this conflict that has lasted for decades was reached, the door would open to a deepened and enhanced cooperation between the European Union andall the countries of the region, bringing benefits to all involved and contributing to the prospect of a new era of peace and prosperity throughout the Middle East.

Mr President,

12. Allow me now to turn to Syria: the humanitarian briefings last week in this Council painted a horrific image, underscoring once again how civilians, and among them women and children, are paying the price for the fighting.

13. The EU recalls that the Syrian regime bears the primary responsibility for the ongoing violence and condemns the widespread and systematic violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law. We continue to witness indiscriminate shelling with heavy weaponry, air and Scud missiles attacks by the Syrian regime and just recently we have heard reports about another onslaught of the regime forces close to Damascus, killing at least 109 people in the single suburb Jdeidet al-Fadel, many of them civilians. The EU recalls the latest report of the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which states that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed in Syria. In this regard, let me stress that all parties to the conflict should commit to their obligation to abide by international humanitarian law – including the protection of medical facilities, staff and patients – and hold to account those in their ranks who do not.

The EU recalls that there should be no impunity for any such violations and abuses. Syria has not responded to repeated calls from the international community to ensure accountability through a national procedure. The EU therefore wishes to recall that the United Nations Security Council can refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, as requested in the Swiss letter to the Security Council of 14 January 2013, at any time. The EU calls on the United Nations Security Council to urgently address the situation in Syria in all aspects, including this issue.

14. We keep up our efforts towards reaching a credible political solution through a Syrian-led political transition principally based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and leading to a democratic, peaceful and inclusive Syria.

In this regard the EU welcomes the establishment of the Syrian National Coalition, which the EU accepts as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, as a crucial step forward. We fully support JSR Brahimi’s efforts and the proposals he made on January 29. In his briefing just a few days ago he emphasised that the initiative of dialogue that was proposed in February by Sheikh Moaz Al Khatib should be further developed not discarded. The EU is therefore encouraged by the acceptance by the Coalition of the principle of a political process under credible conditions. It is of outmost importance that all Syrian opposition forces act in a united way towards a democratic transition in Syria in the inclusive framework of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. The EU looks forward to work with its interim Chairman, Mr. Georges Sabra, to this aim. In this regards, we also welcome the opening of the office of the Syrian National Coalition in New York.

15. Alongside its diplomatic action to promote a political settlement, the EU is the leading humanitarian donor in the context of the Syrian conflict, as a part of a wider international response. The total EU response to the crisis, including pledged support, has reached a level of close to €800 million committed by the EU and its Member States. However, this is still insufficient to cope with the growing number of persons in need. We are particularly grateful to the governments and the peoples of Syria’s neighbouring countries for the generosity they have shown and we call on Member States to honour their pledges made, most recently at the Kuwait Conference.

16. But money is only one aspect of the problem. Given the quickly deteriorating situation and the high risk for the overall stability of the region, effective delivery of aid to all those in need is urgently required. As was asked by Under Secretary General Amos in her statement before the Council last week, the EU will take steps in line with humanitarian principles, towards providing humanitarian assistance to all areas in the country, including those currently not reached by humanitarian aid.

The complex situation on the ground and the difficulty in gaining access require that the EU works with the Syrian National Coalition where necessary to calibrate its response to the real needs of the population inside Syria. The EU also urges the regime in Damascus to allow delivery of humanitarian assistance by whatever routes are most effective in order to reach all the population in need, including across borders, and to allow a broader scope of humanitarian actors to work in Syria. We welcome the fact that the Security Council could finally agree on joint messages in this regard after the humanitarian briefing. But more is required from the Council.

17. The Syrian conflict has already gone beyond Syrian borders. The crisis is escalating in a dramatic and unpredictable way, with a huge potential to destabilise the entire region. We urge the Security Council to actively follow the situation in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and other spill-over threats. The EU recalls the necessity for the Syrian Authorities to respect the sovereignty and integrity of the neighbouring States and condemns its violations.

18. Lastly, the EU is extremely concerned by allegations that chemical weapons might have been used in Syria. We emphasize that any use of chemical weapons, whether by a State or a non-State actor, is abhorrent and must be unreservedly condemned. The EU and its member states addressed a letter to the Secretary General welcoming his decision to start an investigation on this matter. We remain convinced that the seriousness of the allegations that have been made warrants a full, independent and impartial investigation, and that such an investigation should commence quickly and cover all serious allegations about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. All parties in Syria, particularly the Syrian regime, must cooperate fully with the investigation including by providing unimpeded access for investigators. They must also ensure the safety and security of chemical weapons stockpiles pending independently verified destruction under OPCW supervision.

I thank you, Mr. President.

* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Key Recent Developments, Israel/Palestine

Briefing from UN Security Council April forecast
March 28, 2013

The Security Council’s last quarterly open debate on the Middle East was held on 23 January. Following a briefing by Special Coordinator Robert Serry, who reiterated the need for “concerted action…to salvage the two-state solution”, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki and officials from more than 40 states made statements in either their national capacity or on behalf of regional organisations or groupings.

Since that debate, the Council has received two additional briefings on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. In his briefing on 26 February, Feltman described 2013 as “a year that could…extinguish what hope remains for a two-state solution”, and added there is “no process of negotiation…on the horizon.” On 25 March, Serry asserted that it was time for “concerted action” to support a “serious international initiative” including through the Middle East Quartet (comprising the UN, the EU, Russia and the US).

Israel held parliamentary elections on 22 January. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party, running in alliance with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, won 11 fewer Knesset seats than they had previously held, though still more than any other ticket. A new centrist party, Yesh Atid, won the second-most seats. Following weeks of negotiations, a new government coalition was announced on 15 March that included Likud, Yesh Atid, the far-right Jewish Home party and the centre-left Hatnu’a party but excluded the ultra-orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, both of which had been part of Netanyahu’s last government. The new government is expected to focus on domestic issues more than the Palestinian question.

In February, significant tensions arose in the West Bank regarding the situation of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Protests in support of four Palestinian prisoners engaged in hunger strikes led to clashes with the Israeli army on 21 February that injured more than 60 people. On 23 February, Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian man arrested on 18 February on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli settlers, died while in Israeli custody. Though Israel’s health ministry asserted that an autopsy of Jaradat did not conclusively determine the cause of death, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs subsequently alleged that Jaradat was tortured. In response, a significant portion of the more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons took part in a hunger strike on 24 February, while concurrent protests were held in several towns throughout the West Bank.

During consultations following the 26 February briefing, it appears that Morocco suggested elements to the press expressing concern about the circumstances surrounding the detention and death of Jaradat, though ultimately no agreement was reached. On 17 March, one of the four original hunger-strikers was released into Gaza after ending his strike and agreeing to a plea bargain. Two of the remaining strikers—who had been held without trial since November—ended their strikes on 28 February in advance of a hearing on their case.

On 20 March, US President Barack Obama arrived in Tel Aviv for a four-day visit to the region. Prior to the visit, the White House made clear that Obama would not bring any new proposals with him but that the visit was rather a “listening tour”. Speaking in Ramallah on 21 March following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama was critical of Israeli settlement activity but did not call for a construction freeze, adding that both sides would have to “think anew” to resolve outstanding issues. In a speech in Jerusalem that afternoon, Obama reiterated the need for negotiations and the fact that they must lead to “two states for two peoples”. Also on 21 March, two rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, but caused no injuries.

Human Rights-Related Developments
In March 2012, the Human Rights Council (HRC) decided to establish an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Following the adoption of this resolution, Israel decided to suspend its cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the HRC and its mechanisms. Israel did not submit its national report on human rights to the working group of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) due last October, and failed, on 29 January 2013, to appear before the working group of the UPR for its second review scheduled on that day. (This was the first time that a state was absent for its own review.) The HRC decided by consensus to reschedule Israel’s UPR to the 17th session of UPR in October-November.

On 18 March, the HRC held an interactive dialogue with the fact-finding mission, which presented its report released on 7 February (A/HRC/22/63). Also on 18 March, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay introduced to the HRC her report on the implementation of HRC resolutions on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories covering November 2011-November 2012 and its addendum covering the period of escalating hostilities from 14-21 November 2012 (A/HRC/22/35 and Add.1).

On 22 March, the HRC adopted four resolutions on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a resolution regarding the follow-up to the report of the UN independent international fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.

China calls for action on lasting peace in Middle East

A senior Chinese diplomat to the UN on Wednesday called on the parties concerned to address the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, a core issue in the Middle East.
From Xinhua, April 25, 2013

Li Baodong, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations[above], made the call while addressing a day-long debate of UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Oslo accord. We hope it will not be another futile year for the peace talks between Palestine and Israel,” he said.

“Israel’s settlement activities are the direct reason behind the stagnation of the peace talks. It’s also the obstacle to the resumption of the peace talks,” Li said, urging Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible and alleviate the humanitarian situation there.

The Chinese ambassador noted that dialogue and negotiations remain the sole viable solution to the dispute.

“We hope that the parties concerned will resolve their dispute through political negotiations on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, the principle of Land for Peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Middle East Peace Roadmap so as to eventually lead to the establishment of an independent state of Palestine and peaceful coexistence between the two states of Palestine and Israel,” he said.

Li reaffirm China’s continued support for Palestine to pursue the restoration of its legitimate rights “as a nation and its establishment as an independent State with full sovereignty on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. ”

As for Syria, where the situation is in a critical stage, Li expressed China’s consistent view that the crisis can only be settled through a Syrian-led political process.

“We urge parties concerned to achieve ceasefire and cessation of violence on the basis of the Geneva Communique as soon as possible, launch political dialogue and implement the Syria-led political transition process,” he said.

“China stands ready to work with international community to play a constructive role for the early realization of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East,” he added.

Statement by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

By H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo
April 24, 2013

Abdou Salam Diallo, chairman CEIRPP, photo from

Mr. Diallo (spoke in French): I should like to express my warmest congratulations to you, Sir, on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council by your country this month. There is no doubt that on the day when the results are assessed, the international community will remember the positive momentum that you gave to this body.

I appreciate this opportunity to share with the Council the conclusions of recent deliberations held by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the issue that is central to its mandate. Meeting on 17 and 18 April in Caracas, Venezuela, at the invitation of the Venezuelan Government, our Committee called on the international community to re-engage with Israel and the State of Palestine and to remove the obstacles to negotiation. We called for a revitalized Quartet, which should coordinate with key regional players and report to the Council on its efforts and progress made.

In Caracas, we strongly condemned settlements and demanded their removal. We also asked the Council and the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to uphold their responsibilities to ensure a end to settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories. The meeting in Caracas deplored the abuse of Palestinian prisoners, who are often detained without trial, leading to hunger strikes and deaths. Participating delegations also demanded the immediate release of all prisoners, including children, women, elected officials, pre-Oslo detainees, and those held without trial.

We expressed optimism that the passage of General Assembly resolution 67/19 would accelerate the momentum in the Council towards full United Nations membership for the State of Palestine. We considered the vote on 29 November 2012 was a kind of vote of confidence, as Palestine meets the Charter criteria for statehood and is ready and willing to assume the responsibilities that come with United Nations membership. That is why we called on States that recognize Palestine at the United Nations to establish diplomatic relations with it.

We confirmed that the State of Palestine may avail itself of the dispute-settlement mechanisms provided by the International Court of Justice, and supported any action by Palestine to participate fully, effectively and constructively in the work of the United Nations and its conferences, including, for example, by signing treaties and conventions, including the Rome Statute. We also called on the international community unequivocally to support Palestinian unity.

Finally, at the Caracas meeting it was decided to ask the General Assembly to proclaim an international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people in 2014 and to launch a global campaign to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of the occupied territories, realize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and promote a just, lasting, and comprehensive negotiated peace. Those, Sir, are the decisions that we took in Caracas and that the Committee, through me, wishes to convey to you.

Statement for the Non-Aligned Movement
By H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee,[pictured below] Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, “Situation in the Middle East; including the Question of Palestine”
April 24, 2013

Mr. President
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory regrettably continues to deteriorate owing to the oppressive, violent practices that Israel, the occupying Power, continues to inflict on the Palestinian people in violation of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. Regrettably, since the last open debate, despite regional and international peace efforts, Israel, the occupying Power, continues its colonization of the Palestinian land, its blockade of the Gaza Strip, its military raids and arrest campaign, and all forms of collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation.

As stressed in the recent meeting of a delegation led by the NAM Chair with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the last month’s Security Council, the deteriorating situation of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, which are being unlawfully held by Israel, the occupying Power, is a matter of grave concern to the Movement. Furthermore, Israel’s violent suppression of non-violent civilian protests against the occupation, particularly against the abuse of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including the recent torture and killing of a Palestinian detainee and in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners, as well as against Israel’s settlement, wall and colonization of Palestinian land, has caused extensive casualties and further destabilized the situation and is a matter that preoccupies the Movement.

We condemn the continued unlawful detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including children, women and numerous elected officials, who continue to be held under harsh, inhumane conditions and subject to physical and mental ill-treatment. In this regard, the Movement condemns, inter alia, Israel’s use of torture and all other forms of physical and psychological mistreatment and deprivation of Palestinian prisoners. NAM calls for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners.

The Movement condemns ongoing Israeli settlement activities, which constitute grave breaches of international law and violates numerous United Nations resolutions, including resolutions of the Security Council, as well as other illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel, the occupying Power, continues to defy international law and the will and demands of the international community with this destructive, provocative and illegal practice, which is threatening the realization of a just and peaceful solution.

Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced from their lands in the Jordan Valley, where thousands more are at risk of displacement due to Israel’s illegal colonization, as well as in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, where the occupying Power continues pursuing measures aimed at the “quiet transfer” or de-population of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants and at ensuring a Jewish majority in the City. Violence and terror also continue to be waged by extremist Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population and at Muslim and Christian holy places, including in Jerusalem. NAM calls for a complete end to all Israeli settlement activities, the construction of the Wall, home demolitions, residency revocations, excavations, including near Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and closure of Palestinian institutions in the City, and calls for a cessation of the transfer of Israeli settlers to the Palestinian land and for an end to their lawlessness. NAM also calls for a complete lifting of the blockade of Gaza and for international attention to the severe humanitarian situation there.

NAM stresses the urgency of action by the international community to redress the unjust and critical situation being endured by the Palestinian people under Israel’s almost 46-year military occupation. Relevant UN resolutions and international law must be implemented. The responsibilities of this Security Council, which is mandated to maintain international peace and security, are clear and it is high time that they are upheld. The Security Council cannot remain on the sidelines and must act to advance efforts to resolve this prolonged, tragic conflict by which the Palestinian people have been too long denied their inalienable human rights, including to self-determination and return, and freedom in their independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Note from France at the UN
France is working within the relevant UN bodies to promote an agreement on the establishment of a viable, modern, democratic, independant Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel within secure and recognized borders.

The Middle East is discussed every month at the Security Council under the agenda item “Situation in the Middle East”, either in quarterly public debates (in which States that are not members of the Security Council may participate, as well as the European Union and other regional organizations) or in private consultations for Council members. During all these meetings issues relating to Lebanon are also discussed (see our file on Lebanon).

The Palestinian issue is also widely discussed at the General Assembly in its various committees, and at ECOSOC, since around twenty resolutions, on the initiative of the Delegation of Palestine, are voted annually by these organs.

Non-Aligned Movenent

Current members

Currently every African country (except South Sudan and Western Sahara) is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Algeria (1961) Angola (1964) Benin (1964) Botswana (1970) Burkina Faso (1973) Burundi (1964) Cameroon (1964) Cape Verde (1976) Central African Republic (1964) Chad (1964) Comoros (1976) Democratic Republic of the Congo (1961) Djibouti (1983) Egypt (1961) Equatorial Guinea (1970) Eritrea (1995) Ethiopia (1961) Gabon (1970) Gambia (1973) Ghana (1961) Guinea (1961) Guinea-Bissau (1976) Ivory Coast (1973) Kenya (1964) Lesotho (1970) Liberia (1964) Libya (1964) Madagascar (1973) Malawi (1964) Mali (1961) Mauritania (1964) Mauritius (1973) Morocco (1961) Mozambique (1976) Namibia (1979) Niger (1973) Nigeria (1964) Republic of the Congo (1964) Rwanda (1970) São Tomé and Príncipe (1976) Senegal (1964) Seychelles (1976) Sierra Leone (1964) Somalia (1961) South Africa (1994) Sudan (1961)  Swaziland (1970) Tanzania (1964) Togo (1964) Tunisia (1961) Uganda (1964) Zambia (1964) Zimbabwe (1979)

Antigua and Barbuda (2006) Bahamas (1983) Barbados (1983) Belize (1976) Bolivia (1979) Chile (1973) Colombia (1983) Cuba (1961) Dominica (2006) Dominican Republic (2000) Ecuador (1983) Grenada (1979) Guatemala (1993) Guyana (1970) Haiti (2006) Honduras (1995) Jamaica (1970) Nicaragua (1979) Panama (1976) Peru (1973) Saint Kitts and Nevis (2006) Saint Lucia (1983) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (2003) Suriname (1983) Trinidad and Tobago (1970) Venezuela (1989)

Afghanistan (1961) Bahrain (1973) Bangladesh (1973) Bhutan (1973) Brunei (1993) Cambodia (1961) India (1961) Indonesia (1961) Iran (1979) Iraq (1961) Jordan (1964) Kuwait (1964) Laos (1964) Lebanon (1961) Malaysia (1970) Maldives (1976) Mongolia (1993) Myanmar (1961) Nepal (1961) North Korea (1976) Oman (1973) Pakistan (1979) Palestine (1976) Philippines (1993) Qatar (1973) Saudi Arabia (1961) Singapore (1970) Sri Lanka (1961) Syria (1964) Thailand (1993) Timor-Leste (2003) Turkmenistan (1995) United Arab Emirates (1970) Uzbekistan (1993) Vietnam (1976) Yemen (1961)

The Committee on Palestine is a NAM working group. It currently consists of 13 members representing Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Colombia, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Malaysia. A meeting of the committee in Ramallah scheduled for august 2012 had to be cancelled because Israel refused to issue the necessary visas.
Europe Azerbaijan (2011) Belarus (1998)

Oceania Fiji (2011) Papua New Guinea (1993) Vanuatu (1983)

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) was founded in 1975 by resolution 3376 of the United Nations General Assembly. In its inception year, the CEIRPP urged the SC to promote action for a fair solution- recommending “a two-phase plan for the return of Palestinian to their homes and property, a timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories by 1 June 1977, with the provision, if necessary, of temporary peacekeeping forces to facilitate the process.”[1] The committee oversees “a programme of implementation to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination without external interference, national independence and sovereignty; and to return to their homes and property.” The committee reports to the Assembly annually, since the mandate is renewed each year.

The creation of the CEIRPP was a significant step that aligned Palestinians with repatriation rights. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) article 13 states “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” From 1953 to 1973, the Palestinian Question was largely regarded as a refugee problem, until this seismic shift in legal discourse applied the inalienable right of return as a universal human right under article 13.

As the mandate for the Committee expanded, the UN established the Division for Palestinian Rights (UNDPR) as its secretariat. The Bureau consists of the Chairman of the Committee, two Vice-Chairmen and the Rapporteur.

In addition, each year the Committee holds a special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on the 29th of November. This international day commemorates the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) in 1947, which advocated for the partition of Palestine into two States: one Arab and one Jewish.

Members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and observers

The CEIRPP is composed of 25 Member and 24 Observer States. The Member states are Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Cyprus, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

The observers at the Committee meetings are Algeria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Qatar, Sri Lanka, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam and Yemen, as well as the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and Palestine.

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