(20 April 2017) Instead of Considering 50 Years of Occupation, USA Representative is Disregarding Question of Palestine in the UNSC

PR/EN/200417-33

BADIL Resource Center is deeply concerned that the US Representative negated to include the question of Palestine within their concept note for the UN Security Council quarterly open debate on the Middle East, set to be held today, April 20th. While the ‘Palestine question’ is mentioned by name in the letter directed to the Secretary General in the announcement of the debate, neither the concept note nor the key questions for the debate mention the ‘Palestine question’ once, which is seen as a deliberate attempt to marginalize this issue within the Security Council. BADIL calls on members states to reassert the critical nature of the question of Palestine in the Middle East.

The ‘Palestine question’ has been a grave threat to regional and international peace and security emerging from the Middle East in the last  seven decades,  and the announced concept note and key questions are directing member states of the SC to ignore this issue and address other regional matters instead. It was expected that the Security Council would address the ongoing Israeli policies of colonization and forcible transfer of Palestinians, including issues such as; ongoing home demolitions, the closure of the Gaza Strip, the conditions and situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails (especially as about 1500 are taking part in a collective hunger strike at the moment), and the policies of collective punishment imposed on Palestinians. However, it appears as though priority has been given to other issues in the region.

BADIL Resource Center considers this concept note an intentional marginalization of the Palestinian question by the Trump administration, and emphasizes the importance of making this issue by both member and participating states a top priority in the agenda of the Security Council on the Middle East. Excluding this matter from the debate adds to the impunity and lack of accountability of Israel for its ongoing violations of international law. Putting an end to Israel’s policies of apartheid, colonization, and forcible transfer must be a top priority of the Security Council’s quarterly open debate on the Middle East. During the 50 years of Israel’s belligerent occupation, the violations have not only continued, but have become more widespread. Additionally, the ongoing forcible displacement of Palestinians since the establishment of Israel in 1948 has been a trigger of instability, which undermines peace and security in the region. As such, addressing the root cause of this instability should be a top priority for the Security Council in this debate.