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A Vision for Palestinian Womens Rights Organizations based on the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325
(Ten strategies for tackling issues pertaining to Women, Peace and Security)
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Date posted: December 01, 2002
By MIFTAH

Since the inception of the United Nations (UN), the Palestine question has been one of the most persistent topics on the UN agenda. Between 1948 and today, the UN Security Council has adopted 58 resolutions that deal with the issue of Palestine, including the situation in the Occupied Territories (OPT) and Jerusalem, and attacks against Palestinian targets. This number does not include Israeli attacks on Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, or Egypt, nor does it include unspecified resolutions regarding the situation in the Middle East.

While the UN Security Council has shown great interest in the maintenance of peace and security in Palestine and the Middle East, little of its work has had any major effect on the situation in the area. The implementation of the Security Council resolutions have proved to be very difficult, as Israel, one of the main parties of the conflict, customarily ignores the resolutions, and continues breaching international regulations and laws, such as the 1949 Forth Geneva Convention, the UN charter, and UN Security Council resolutions. For instance, resolution 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973 are two key resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with, despite the fact that these two resolutions make the foundation upon which the Oslo Accords are based. In Resolution 242 (1967), the Security Council underlines that all Member States are committed to act in accordance with Article 2 of the UN charter, which affirms that

All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

The resolution furthermore calls for Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in the 1967 war, and emphasizes the need for "a just settlement of the refugee problem". A number of resolutions with similar wording have since then followed, and have likewise been ignored by the Israeli authorities.

Israel's blatant ignorance of the Security Council resolutions is likely much due to the unconditional support the country has been given by the US. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the US has the privilege of the veto power. By means of its veto power, the US has managed to protect Israel from numerous resolutions condemning Israeli actions, policies, and its refusal to comply with UN resolutions and international law. 21 of the vetoed drafts are directly concerned with the issue of Palestine or attacks on Palestinian targets, and include sharp criticism against Israeli human rights violations, calls for the cessation of collective punishment, home demolitions and deportations, and denouncement of Israeli establishments of illegal settlements (for more information, see below). The US use of the veto has furthermore prevented the establishment of an UN observer force, on-site monitoring of the situation, and enforcement of earlier resolutions. In addition to the drafts that have been vetoed, the threat of the US veto has shield Israel from criticism by forcing the members of the Security Council to settle with a statement instead of a resolution.

List of US vetoes cast against UN Security Council Resolutions on Palestine

1. 24 Jul. 1973. S/10974

Vote: 13 in favor, 1 veto (US), 1 abstention.
The resolution strongly deplored Israel's occupation of the Arab territories since 1967, and expressed serious concern with the Israeli authorities' lack of cooperation with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General.

2. 23 Jan. 1976. S/11940

Vote: 9 in favor, 1 veto (US), 3 abstentions.
The resolution called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories since 1967, and deplored Israel's refusal to implement relevant UN resolutions. It furthermore reaffirmed the Palestinian people's right to self determination and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

3. 24 Mar. 1976. S/12022

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
In the draft, the Security Council expressed deep concern over Israeli measures to change the character of the occupied territories, in particular Jerusalem, the establishment of Israeli settlements, and human rights violations, and called for an end of such measures.

4. 29 Jun. 1976. S/12119

Vote: 10 in favor, 1 veto (US), 4 abstentions.
The resolution affirmed the Palestinian people's right to self determination, the right of return, and the right to national independence.

5. 30 Apr. 1980. S/13911

Vote: 10 in favor, 1 veto (US), 4 abstentions.
The resolution affirmed the Palestinian right to establish an independent state, the right of return or compensation for loss of property for refugees not wishing to return, and Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories since 1967.

6. 1 Apr. 1982. S/14943

Vote: 13 in favor, 1 veto (US), 1 abstention.
In the draft, the Security Council denounced Israeli interference with local governance in the West Bank, and its violations of the rights and liberties of the population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The resolution furthermore called on Israel to end all activities in breach of the Forth Geneva Convention.

7. 20 Apr. 1982. S/14985

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The draft strongly condemned the shooting of worshipers at Haram Al-Sharif on 11 April, 1982, and called on Israel to observe and apply the provisions of the Forth Geneva Convention, and other international laws.

8. 8 Jun. 1982 S/15185

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution draft condemned the Israeli non-compliance with resolutions 508 and 509, urged the parties to comply with the Hague Convention of 1907, and restated the Security Council's demands of Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

9. 25 Jun. 1982 S/15255/Rev. 2

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israeli and Palestinian forces from areas in and around Beirut, and that the parties would comply with resolution 508. It furthermore requested that the Secretary General would station UN military observers to supervise the ceasefire and disengagement in and around Beirut, and that the Secretary General would make proposals for the installation of a UN force to take up positions beside the Lebanese interposition force.

10. 6 Aug. 1982 S/15347/Rev. 1

Vote: 11 in favor, 1 veto, 3 abstentions.
The resolution strongly condemned Israel for not implementing resolutions 516 and 517, called for their immediate implementation, and decided that all UN member-states would refrain from providing Israel with weapons or other military aid until Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory.

11. 1 Aug. 1983. S/15895

Vote: 13 in favor, 1 veto (US), 1 abstention.
The resolution called upon Israel to discontinue the establishment of new settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, to dismantle existing settlements, and to adhere to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. The resolution furthermore rejected Israeli deportations and transfers of Palestinian civilians, and condemned attacks against the Arab civilian population. The Security Council also called upon other states to refrain from giving Israel any assistance related to the settlements, and stated its intention to examine ways of securing the implementation of the resolution, in the event of Israeli non-compliance.

12. 12 Sep. 1985. S/17459

Vote: 10 in favor, 1 veto (US), 4 abstentions.
The resolution draft deplored the repressive measures applied by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, and called upon Israel to immediately cease the use of repressive measures, including the use of curfews, deportations, and detentions.

13. 29 Jan. 1986. S/17769

Vote: 13 in favor, 1 veto (US), 1 abstention.
The resolution strongly deplored Israeli refusal to abide earlier Security Council resolutions, and called upon Israel to comply with these resolutions, as well as, the norms of international law governing military occupation such as the Forth Geneva Convention. The Security Council also expressed deep concern with violations of the sanctity of the Haram Al-Sharif, and with Israeli measures aimed at altering the character of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem.

14. 29 Jan. 1988. S/19466

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution called upon Israel to accept the de jure applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War to the territories occupied since 1967, and to conform to the Convention. The resolution moreover called upon Israel to refrain from practices violating the human rights of the Palestinian people.

15. 14 Apr. 1988. S/19780

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution expressed grave concerned with the Israeli use of collective punishment, including house demolitions. It condemned the policies and practices utilized by the Israeli authorities violating the human rights of the Palestinian People, especially the killing and wounding of defenseless Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army. Called on Israel to abide to the Forth Geneva Convention, and urged it to desist from deporting Palestinians.

16. 17 Feb. 1989. S/20463

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution strongly deplored Israeli persistence in violating the human rights of the Palestinian people, in particular the shooting of Palestinian civilians, including children. It also deplored Israel's disregard of Security Council decisions, and called upon Israel to act in accordance with the Forth Geneva Convention and relevant Security Council resolutions.

17. 9 Jun. 1989. S/20677

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution deplored the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people, demanded that Israel would abstain from deporting Palestinian civilians for the occupied territories, and that it would ensure the safe return of those already deported. It also called upon Israel to comply with the Forth Geneva Convention, and requested that the Secretary General would give recommendations on measures guaranteeing compliance with the Convention, and the protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.

18. 6 Nov. 1989. S/20945/Rev. 1

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution deplored the Israeli violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the siege of towns, ransacking of homes, and confiscation of property. It called upon Israel to abide to the Forth Geneva Convention, to lift the siege, and to return confiscated property to its owners. The resolution requested that the Secretary General would conduct on-site monitoring of the situation in the occupied territories.

19. 30 May 1990. S/21326

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The draft resolution established a commission to examine the situation related to Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem.

20. 17 May 1995. S/1995/394

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution confirmed that the Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem was invalid, and called upon Israel to refrain from such actions. It also expressed its support for the Middle East peace process and urged the parties to adhere to the accord agreed upon.

21. 7 Mar. 1997. S/1997/199

Vote: 14 in favor, 1 veto (US).
The resolution expressed deep concern with the Israeli plans to build new settlements in East Jerusalem, and called upon Israel to desist from measures, including the building of settlements, that would pre-empt the final status negotiations. The resolution once again called on Israel to abide to the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

22. 21 Mar. 1997. S/1997/241

Vote: 13 in favor, 1 veto (US), 1 abstention.
The resolution demanded an end to the Israeli construction of the Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement in East Jerusalem, and to all other measures related to settlements in the occupied territories.

23. 26 Mar. 2001. S/2001/270

Vote: 9 in favor, 1 veto (US), 4 abstentions.
The resolution called for a total and immediate stop of all acts of violence, provocation, and collective punishment, as well as a complete cessation of Israeli settlement activities, and an end of the closures of the occupied territories. The resolution furthermore called for the implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh agreement, and expressed the Security Council's willingness to set up mechanisms to protect the Palestinian civilians, including the establishment of a UN observer force.

24. 14 Dec. 2001. S/2001/1199

Vote: 12 in favor, 1 veto (US) 2 abstentions.
In the resolution, the Security Council condemned all acts of terror, extrajudiciary executions, excessive use of force and destruction of properties, and demanded an end of all acts of violence, destruction and provocation. The resolution called on the parties to resume negotiations, and to implement the recommendations of the Mitchell Report. It also encouraged the establishment of a monitoring apparatus for the above mentioned implementation.

Sources:

1. UN: The United Nations, "Security Council documents", www.un.org
2. The Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, "Summary of Security Council Resolutions on Palestine since 1948", "Security Council Resolutions on Palestine Vetoed by the U.S.", www.palestine-un.org
3. Middle East Information Center, "US Vetos on the UN Security Council related to the Middle East", www.middleeastinfo.org
4. Donald Neff, "The U.S. Cast the First of 29 Security Council Vetoes to Shield Israel", Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, www.washington-report.org
5. Donald Neff, "Lessons to be Learned From the 66 U.N. Resolutions Israel Ignores", Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, www.washington-report.org

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