Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Observer Outlines U.N. Resolutions at CPAP

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Observer Outlines U.N. Resolutions at CPAP

Article excerpt


At the end of the Second World War in Europe, no one could discern what would happen in Palestine. The British government wanted to retain control of strategic areas, the United States wanted increased access to oil resources, Palestinian Arabs wanted an end to Jewish immigration and Jewish residents of Palestinian desired a Jewish state.

In January of 1947, after multiple committees of inquiry, the British decided that if no agreement could be achieved, the United Nations would have to determine the matter of Palestine. Since the fighting of 1947 to 1949, the organization has passed numerous resolutions regarding the repatriation or restitution of Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, illegal Israeli settlements, and the Palestinian right to self-determination.

Marwan Jilani, deputy permanent observer for the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations, discussed these resolutions Oct. 12 at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington, DC.

"Israel's persistence to discredit and reject the United Nations and the international legitimacy that is represented by the relevant resolutions of the U.N. is a clear indication of Israel's real intentions," Jilani said. "Israel wants to leave the Palestinian side vulnerable to the imbalance of power, and to deprive the Palestinians of their only strength, which is international legitimacy and law."

Faced with such Israeli intransigence, Jilani said that Palestinians must maintain a firm position based on the following elements: the permanent responsibility of the United Nations toward the question of Palestine, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and the legitimacy in all circumstances of international law.

According to Jilani, U.N. resolutions should play an essential role in resolving the questions surrounding Palestine. As for the issue of refugees, Jilani said, General Assembly Resolution 194 (III), calls for the repatriation or compensation of Palestinian refugees, Security Council Resolution 237 calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of the refugees, and Security Council Resolution 799 condemns Israeli expulsion of Palestinians.

As far as Jerusalem is concerned, Jilani said, Resolution 181, calling for the partition of Palestine between its Arab and Jewish inhabitants, designated Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) reaffirmed free access to religious sites. However, Israel moved to absorb into its jurisdiction areas of Jerusalem under its military control. In September of 1948 the Israeli Supreme Court was established there, and in February 1949 the Israeli Knesset assembled and the president took the oath of office within the city. …

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