Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The United Nations must provide the Palestinians with an international protection force, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in New York on Monday, a day before taking over the chairmanship of the Group of 77, the largest bloc of United Nation member states.
Abbas held talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the Palestinian issue and “dangerous Israeli violations” against Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, the PA’s official Wafa news agency reported.
During the meeting, Abbas stressed the need to implement the UN General Assembly and Security Council’s resolutions, “particularly the secretary-general’s report regarding providing international protection for the Palestinians, as well as his reports concerning the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, specifically with regards to the illegal Israeli practices and the settlements.”
In June 2018, the General Assembly adopted a resolution that called on Israel to refrain from the use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinians.
It also deplored the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli civilian areas and requested the UN secretary-general to submit a report outlining proposals on ways to ensure the safety of Palestinians, including an international protection mechanism.
The report, which was submitted in August 2018, calls, among other things, for a more robust UN presence on the ground and the deployment of UN observers to report on protection and the well-being of Palestinians, as well as providing local mediation, especially at checkpoints and areas close to the settlements.
The UN Resolution 2334, which was adopted in December 2016, stated that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has no “legal validity.”
The meeting in New York was attended by PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser Majdi al-Khaldi and PLO Ambassador to the UN Riad Mansour.
Also on Monday, Abbas met with UN General Assembly president María Fernanda Garcés of Ecuador and briefed her, too, on the latest developments in the Palestinian arena.
In October, the UN General Assembly held a special vote to temporarily elevate the Palestinians’ status at the UN, so that it could take over the rotating chairmanship of the G77 for 2019.
The move provides the Palestinians with an emotional boost, as their efforts to attain UN membership remain stymied.
The Palestinians have the status of a non-member state at the UN, and would have been disqualified from the chairmanship without a vote.
The G77, however, has recognized Palestine as a member state since 1976.
The group of developing nations, the G77, was first created in 1964 to advance the economic interests of developing countries, but has since expanded to include 134 of the UN’s 193 member states.
Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley attacked the Palestinian chairmanship of the G77, stating that “the Palestinians are not a UN member state or any state at all.”
She added at the time that the move encouraged “the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations. In fact, today’s vote does nothing to help the Palestinian people.”
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