UN Security Council to informally discuss international protection for Palestinians

The Palestinian efforts at the UNSC is part of drive to make sure that the international community does not ignore the plight of the Palestinians given the other issues in the Middle East.

Meeting of the UN Security Council (photo credit: REUTERS)
Meeting of the UN Security Council
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The UN Security Council will discuss providing international protection for Palestinians at an informal May 6 meeting, PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said.
“We would like to see an international force to separate between us and the Israeli occupying authorities,” Mansour said on Wednesday.
Such a step is not feasible at this time, so it is possible for the Security Council to take a smaller step to help the Palestinians, he said.
“Now the security council is beginning the discussion,” Mansour told reporters.
The Palestinians have persistently called for the council to hold a formal meeting and to act on this matter, he added.
“The Security Council has to shoulder the responsibility when they see people who are living under occupation in which the occupier is supposed to provide protection,” Mansour said.
This is particularly true when Israel, which is the occupier, has abdicated its responsibility to protect Palestinian civilians, he said. That is when the Security Council is supposed to get involved and place proposals on the table for the protection of those civilians, Mansour said. “We hope the UNSC will wake up and take decisive decisions.”
In the interim, the Palestinians are already discussing the matter with the office of UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon to see whether there are steps that can be taken to protect the Palestinians even without a new resolution, he said.
Mansour noted that in 1994 the Security Council passed Resolution 904 which called for measures to be taken to protect Palestinian civilians living over the pre-1967 lines, including the use of a temporary international or foreign presence.
As a result of this resolution a special civilian observer mission was set up called the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, he said. But a solution is needed for the West Bank as a whole, including east Jerusalem, he added.
The council must now fully implement Resolution 904, Mansour said, including the section that calls for disarming settlers.
This week’s informal meeting will be held under a mechanism called the “Arria-Formula” under the initiative of Egypt, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia. Egypt will hold the council presidency in May.
Separately, Mansour said, the Palestinians are continuing with their efforts to pass a Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement activity, even though they did not formally present it in April as expected.
There have been past Security Council resolutions against settlement activity, Mansour said, but the Palestinians seek a new one to test the council’s resolve to be a body that actively wants to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.
“Are you [the council] willing to act collectively as a very important body on an issue with which you have unanimity and to do something to remove this obstacle [settlements] from the path of peace? If the security council can do that, than it is a signal from the international community that yes, they want to support the collective [peace] process,” Mansour said.
If it can’t take a common stand on this element, which has broad support, then how will they take a united stand on any other component of a peace process, Mansour asked.
The Security Council has an important role to play in any internationalized effort for the creation of a two-state solution, he said.
The Palestinian effort at the council, Mansour said, is part of drive to make sure that the international community does not ignore the plight of the Palestinians, given the other issues in the Middle East.
He believes such efforts were part of the reason the French have pushed for a ministerial meeting on the conflict, he said.
When it comes to the UN, “if you are not active, if you are not creating leverage, if you are not pressuring, you will not be considered,” Mansour said.
Since taking office in 2009, US President Barack Obama has opposed Security Council action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict out of the belief that the best way to resolve the issue is through direct negotiations between the two parties.
The last US-backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations failed in 2014 and no new initiative has been created since then.
The last seven months have been marked by a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis that has killed 34 people and wounded hundreds of others.
According to Reuters, Israel has killed 193 Palestinians in that same period. Out of that number, 130 were killed perpetrating attacks against Israelis. The remainder were killed during violent clashes with the IDF.