UN to Mark Nakba Day, Calls for End of Settlements

Amid rising violence in the occupied territories, the General Assembly passed a set of resolutions on the Middle East last week and Palestine’s U.N. envoy said “this is the end of the road for the two-state solution.” 

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy to the U.N., addressing the General Assembly on the question of Palestine, Nov. 30. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

By  Peoples Dispatch

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a slate of resolutions on Palestine during its 77th session last week, with Palestine’s representative declaring the two-state solution over and denouncing Israel for its continuing impunity. 

Among the many resolutions, the Assembly voted with 90 votes in favor, 30 against, and 47 abstentions to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba by organizing a high-level event at the General Assembly on May 15, 2023. Israel, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. voted against.

The Nakba, or “The Catastrophe,” refers to the series of mass atrocities committed by Zionist forces that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

At least 15,000 Palestinians were killed and over 750,000 were forcibly expelled from their homes, as over 500 villages were completely destroyed. Though the Nakba certainly did not begin or end in 1948, May 15 is internationally observed as Nakba Day each year as an acknowledgment of this historic and ongoing violence and colonization of Palestine. 

Israel predictably opposed the resolution, with Gilad Erdan, its U.N. ambassador, claiming the Nakba was something Palestinians had “brought upon themselves with their own aggression by waging a war against Israel,” accusing Arab states of using the Palestinian people as “political tools.” He also warned that the approval of the resolution on the Nakba would impede any chance of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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“Try to imagine the international community commemorating your country’s Independence Day by calling it a disaster. What a disgrace,” Erdan said. “The Palestinians’ lies must no longer be accepted on the world stage, just as this body must stop allowing the Palestinians to continue pulling its strings. I urge you all to stop blindly supporting the Palestinians’ libels.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, addressing Security Council session on the Middle East, Oct. 28. (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

Meanwhile, the General Assembly also adopted a resolution on the “peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” by calling for an “immediate halt to all settlement activities, land confiscation, and home demolitions, for the release of prisoners, and for an end to arbitrary arrests and detentions.” 

The Assembly underscored the need to “urgently exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues and for intensified efforts by the parties towards a just, lasting peace in the Middle East…” based on existing U.N. resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Madrid terms of reference and the Quartet road map

The text was passed with 153 countries in favor, 10 abstentions and nine against including Israel, Canada and the U.S.

The General Assembly also condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and voted to name a journalism training program in her honor. 

Syrian Golan Resolution 

Importantly, the General Assembly also passed a resolution titled “The Syrian Golan,” declaring Israel’s decision to impose its laws and jurisdiction on the occupied Syrian Golan on Dec. 14, 1981, as null and void and called upon Israel to rescind that decision. 

March 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder, signs proclamation recognizing Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.  (White House, Shealah Craighead)

Addressing the assembly debate on the “Question of Palestine and the Situation in the Middle East,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the U.N., said that existing policies “have effectively shielded and emboldened Israel to such a point that the we are witnessing the formation of the most colonial, racist and extremist Government in the history of Israel, and that is saying something,” referring to the incoming coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu.  Mansour said:

“Some countries keep denouncing what they refer to as ‘singling out Israel,’ but what truly singles out Israel is not the amount of criticism legitimately directed against its crimes and violations, but the level of impunity it enjoys despite these condemnations .…That is not defending Israel, that is shielding its illegal occupation and annexation of our [Palestinian] land.”

He warned:

“This is the end of the road for the two-state solution…. Either the international community summons the will to act decisively or it will let peace die passively. Passively, not peacefully. Anybody serious about the two-state solution must help salvage the Palestinian state …. There is no two-state with annexation. There is no two-state without respect for our dignity, our humanity, and our rights. And if there is no two-state solution then the alternative is what we are living under now, a regime that has combined the evils of colonialism and apartheid.” 

The General Assembly saw strong interventions by member countries on the lack of accountability for Israel’s violence against the Palestinian people, its practice of apartheid and the ongoing siege of Gaza. Despite what Mansour said, many countries called for meaningful steps to advance the two-state solution. 

The Israeli Air Force bombed the al-Jalaa Building which housed press offices in Gaza, May 15, 2021. (Osama Eid, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

A product of the negotiation process which can be traced to the 1970s, the “two-state solution” calls for the establishment of an independent Palestine, “side by side [with Israel] within secured and recognized borders.” 

While the two-state solution continues to dominate discussions on Palestine in the international community, including during last week’ Assembly meetings, Palestinians have long drawn attention to the glaring deficits of this approach, including the emphasis on pre-1967 borders as a starting point, without acknowledging that these borders were themselves a product of ethnic cleansing and colonization.

Not only that, Israel has continued to expand its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, approved an expansion of the apartheid wall, and maintain its occupation and siege of the Gaza Strip. “The two-state solution in principle does not offer the Palestinian people their basic rights under international law — equality and right of return,” argues Haidar Eid, a professor at the Al-Aqsa University in Gaza. 

The General Assembly meeting was held in the context of severe violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. At least 207 Palestinians have been killed in 2022 so far, making it the deadliest year since records began in 2005.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.


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6 comments for “UN to Mark Nakba Day, Calls for End of Settlements

  1. robert e williamson jr
    December 8, 2022 at 13:31

    It’s happening. Slowly the worm is turning.

    ProPublica has published Cienfuegos Affair: Inside the Case that Upended America’s Drug War. By Tim Golden. I recommend everyone read this story. I suspect it may lead to more revelations od CIA involvement in the world wide drug trade, and the money laudering that goes along with it. Maybe not.

    This is the type of thing that will get the attention of U.S. leadership. Mainly because the actions of the Mexican Government here are making a mockery of the U.S. War on Drugs. Especially at a time when the character of U.S. politicians is under close scrutiny and U.S. foreign policy has become, in my view, untenable.

    It is common knowledge now that the U.S. Government under Ron Reagan and George H W Bush stood by as drugs were imported with the help of those two administration at least. I personally suspect suspect the CIA and its operators and contractors may have been involved earlier, we might eventually find out.

    Also Jefferson Morley has streamed a press conference held in D.C. December 6th. Regardless of your opinion on the JFK murder case, considering that the POTUS has a deadline of Dec 15, 2022 to release all records of the case I recommend everyone watch the stream. Running and hour forty plus the conference should hold your attention. Morley and others have ferreted out new facts and the discovery and reveal has produced new information related to what and who at CIA knew what and when they learned of Oswald. George Joannides stands to become a house hold known figure who aided in the CIA’s misrepresentation of what really happened to JFK and why.

    My point here is to emphasize the fact that the U.S. Government desperately needs understand the reality of it’s reputation as it is perceived world wide. Rethinking Cuba, the War on Drugs, which has been used as a club to beat unruly foreign nations who refuse to rubber stamp American foreign policy, and the U.S. position on the Government of Israel’s Policy of zero tolerance of Palestinians. Just three of the many issues other world nations have with U.S. foreign policy. A series of bad policy decisions that are hold overs from the 1940’s to the present. So old, rotten and repugnant the stench lingers from lack of attention to facts and details by leadership, a leadership that somehow seems willing to continue the lie instead of reform.

    The “Swamp”, it stinks.

    Live and learn or become a victim of it’s own neglect, the government of the U.S. has placed it citizens in harms way. yet again, those actions could have been directed in a more reasonable manner.

    “And so it goes!” Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 11-11-1922 4-11-2007

    Thanks CN

  2. Arch Stanton
    December 7, 2022 at 18:22

    We are witnessing one of the most severe acts of collective injustice, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide and apartheid on a race of people the world has ever seen and nothing, no punishment, retribution or anything for the perpetrators. However, faux western MSM outrage over e.g China and the situation of the Uighurs results in universal condemnation – the hypocrisy of the west knows no bounds.

  3. Em
    December 6, 2022 at 13:47

    As a Jew and staunch Zionist at the time, how prescient was the genius of Albert Einstein, in 1952, when he turned down the offer of the Presidency of the State of Israel as an honor; by the state, in recognition of his universal achievements in science.

    How visionary was his wisdom when turning it down? In later years he came up with the statement:

    “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    December 6, 2022 at 11:19

    How sad, and incredible, that israel continues to pull our noses with impunity. And just as sad that the entire Western ‘cultured’ world lacks the gonads to stand up to israel. But of course, the white race reigns supreme.

  5. Moi
    December 6, 2022 at 01:45

    I am sickened that Australia’s Albanese government voted against the Nakba resolution. This is after they voted against the annual UN resolution: “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

    Since when have Australians glorified Nazism, racism, xenophobia and intolerance?

    Albanese is a disgrace.

  6. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    December 5, 2022 at 18:02

    Israël est strictement un État fantoche golem de Washington; fondamentalement, Israël est un État fasciste.

    Comme son Créateur, Washington, Israël est gouverné par un gang criminel mafioso meurtrier.

Comments are closed.