Excluding Israel from the UN should be a priority | Israel’s war against Gaza

When on May 10, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of Resolution ES-10/23 regarding Palestine’s membership application, some media outlets called it “support for the Palestinian state.” This apparent confusion follows US government talking points that conflate statehood with membership and claim that this would harm “peace efforts.” However, that is not the case: the resolution addressed the issue of UN “membership” and not Palestine’s “statehood.”

The United Nations General Assembly resolved the issue of Palestine’s UN statehood in 2012 when it granted it non-member observer state status, the same status that Switzerland enjoyed before becoming a member state in 2002 or has had the Holy See since 1964.

The decision of the United States not to recognize the State of Palestine or to veto its application for membership in the UN Security Council does not deny the legal and political status of Palestine: a State, although under foreign occupation, recognized by three quarters. of the 193 member states of the UN. UN and counting. Recently, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago formally recognized the State of Palestine.

And since the adoption of resolution ES-10/23 by 143 votes to 9, the Republic of Ireland has officially declared that it will recognize the State of Palestine in the coming weeks. Belgium, Spain, Malta and Slovenia have also made recent statements to this effect.

While Palestine’s full membership in the UN remains hostage to the US veto in the Security Council, it has become a red herring, diverting attention and action from a much more important and consequential issue: Palestinian status. of Israel at the UN.

When apartheid South Africa came under increasing international pressure at the UN, driven by the growing political influence of the Global South and Africa in particular, the UN General Assembly acted. He established an anti-apartheid center and initiated international boycotts of the apartheid regime in sports, culture, economics and politics, putting pressure not only on the racist regime in South Africa, but also on its allies, including Israel.

A momentous moment came in 1974, when a ruling by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, then foreign minister of Algeria, made history: he suspended South Africa’s participation, stripping it of its rights and privileges as a member state. . He would no longer be able to sit, speak or vote in the General Assembly or other UN bodies.

What became known as the “Bouteflika Judgment” was unprecedented in the annals of the UN. It followed the veto by the United States, United Kingdom and France of an initiative by African countries seeking to expel South Africa from the organization in accordance with Article 6 of the United Nations Charter, which states: “A Member of the United Nations United Nations that has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Security Council.”

The United States, supported by the United Kingdom and others, challenged the Bouteflika ruling in the United Nations General Assembly, and it was confirmed by 91 votes to 22, when the UN had 133 member states at the time. The ruling was regarding the credentials of the South African delegation, which were rejected; did not suspend or expel South Africa as a member state, which requires a positive recommendation from the Security Council.

Given that, by all indications, Israel has persistently violated not only the general principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, but also countless binding resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, actions under Article 6. But realpolitik suggests that this would be a solution. road to nowhere, at least until the United States decides to withdraw its “diplomatic iron dome” that protects its ally. The Bouteflika ruling suggests an alternative route.

Now that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that atrocities against the people of Gaza may amount to genocide and issued a series of interim orders that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has mocked, the General Assembly of The United Nations should seriously consider whether it is indeed necessary to suspend the participation of the Israeli delegation.

The Israeli delegation to the UN has already demonstrated its flagrant lack of respect towards the organization in numerous cases. After the May 10 vote, for example, its ambassador, in the most theatrical and grotesque manner, destroyed a copy of the UN Charter from the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly, shouting “what a shame” at the delegations present.

It is important to remember that apartheid South Africa changed course because it became a pariah and isolated regime. The Bouteflika ruling was part of that process.

In this sense, stripping Israel of its UN rights and privileges is more likely to put additional pressure on the Tel Aviv regime to change course. Excluding it is more likely to improve peace prospects than full symbolic membership of the State of Palestine in the UN.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

Leave a Comment