Issue 37: The 22nd annual UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

November 29 will mark the 22nd annual UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to be observed with concurrent UN ceremonies in Geneva, Vienna, and New York.

Analysis: This Day is an anachronism, repeating a time-worn agenda that is divorced from the realities of advancing Middle East peace.

Consider this selection of speakers: the League of Arab States; the Organization of the Islamic Conference; the Permanent Observer of Palestine; the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. Consider the documents distributed to participants at the event: last year’s English version documents,  weighing over 3 pounds, largely portrayed an unbalanced history, overwhelmingly hostile towards Israel.

In all likelihood, almost no mention will be made of the human rights record or the financial accountability of the Palestinian Authority. Nor will there be a critical evaluation of the UN’s role in promoting democracy and the rule of law within PA-controlled areas.

Even a 1998 General Assembly resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People authorized the Committee to make changes to their program “necessary in the light of developments.” And recently, a report by the Secretary-General noted an increase in income of Palestinians living under the PA. Why, then, has the ceremony  not changed to reflect improvement in the condition of the Palestinians and progress in the peace process with Israel?

Perhaps because this Day itself is the tip of a political iceberg. Consider the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, the Division for Palestinian Rights, and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. These UN bodies, costing millions of dollars annually, serve to perpetuate antagonism, not to resolve disputes.

From this there are two points to make: One, the reality of what will take place on Monday will not reflect the stated goals of the Day in a balanced or fair manner. Two, this dismissal of fairness results in a violation of the principles of the UN Charter, through the singling out a Member State for attack.

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