Specialists Discuss Voting Behavior in United Nations Institutions Toward Palestinian Cause
At a symposium held by the Council on International Relations in Gaza sponsored by the Palm Strategic Initiatives Centre
May 20, 2022
In a Symposium held on Thursday by Palm center in cooperation with the Council on International Relations – Palestine, Palestinian and international political and human rights specialists discussed the voting behavior in United Nations institutions towards the Palestinian cause.
The symposium continues the research survey project carried out by the Council on International Relations late last year by United Nations institutions towards the Palestinian cause during 2005-to 2022.
Palestine is an international issue
Dr. Basem Naim, President of the Council on International Relations – Palestine, opened the session by talking about the “Palestinian cause in its international dimension.”
Naim said that the Palestinian cause since it rises, has been an “international issue,” and this international dimension plays a central role in this issue more than any other issue in the world.
He added that this conflict was a crud expression of the colonial countries from the time it started until today.
He stated that they continually work to create a functional entity that serves several goals, including the depletion of the region, the squandering of its wealth, and keeping it separated to facilitate control.
Naim also said: “We are here to discuss the best ways to develop a national strategy to confront the catastrophe of the decline in voting in favor of the Palestinian cause in the United Nations. Otherwise, the worst is to come,” referring to the international Israeli efforts, including its efforts to omit UNRWA and join the African Union.
Restoration of the Palestinian Initiative
In turn, the former Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, talked about the importance of the UN and the international institutions; and the need to invest in them to benefit the Palestinian cause, reviewing how the voting behavior has declined, especially during the past recent years.
Pointing at the decline of support for the Palestinian cause in the international institutions, he said, “The world has changed, and the ideological role of countries has shrunk in favor of economic and political interests.”
He stressed the importance of maintaining a supportive Arab position towards the Palestinian issue, at least in international organizations. Otherwise, the rest of the voters, who support Palestine, will vanish.
He also emphasized the significance of the restoration of the Palestinian initiative.
Imposing sanctions and isolating the apartheid
Professor John Dugard, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur to UNCHR, stated in his speech about the United Nations’ position towards the Palestinian cause that people should distinguish between the United Nations in Geneva and the United Nations in New York.
Dugard suggested that there must be an active role for the United Nations in terms of adopting the truth that “Israel imposes apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories; this includes the siege, the embargo, and the economic sanctions as well as isolation of Israel until it ends its occupation and recognizes the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people and the state of Palestine.
Because if the world accepts this apartheid, there will be nothing to do but to undo whatever action was taken against the apartheid regime in South Africa.”
Reasons behinds change
Salah Abdel-Aty, President of Supporting Palestinian People Rights Association, started by mentioning the reasons behind the change in the voting behavior towards Palestine in the United Nations institution.
Abdel-Aty added that the United Nations is a political, diplomatic, and legal conflict area that cannot be neglected. Still, it does not prevent other means such as armed and popular resistance, media, diplomacy, communities, and boycott and solidarity movements that work simultaneously to reduce the duration of the occupation.
In a related context, Abdel-Aty attributed the decline in the vote in favor of Palestine at the United Nations to Palestinians being separated, presenting the worst model of autonomy; and to their failure in holding elections along with the weakness of the official Palestinian efforts, and the decline of the international diplomatic Arab relations.
Abdel-Aty recommended the establishment of a specialized studies center that aims at influencing each country and maintaining the pressure on them to take a position that serves the Palestinian cause.
A case study of Latin America and Africa
The Law for Palestine organization researcher, Ghadeer Abu Madin, presented a “Case Study – Latin American Countries.” Abu Madian said that the Latin America States are historically a strong ally of the Palestinians. They have good diplomatic relations with Palestinians, and they vote in favor of Palestine in the General Assembly.
Abu Madin also discussed the decline in the voting behavior of some countries in Latin America, mainly Guatemala and Brazil, towards Palestine and accounted for the rise of extreme right-wing parties to power in the two countries and the improvement of their economic and diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation.
She recommended that the State of Palestine adopt the international law discourse more in international forums, activate the Palestinian embassies, and establish committees specializing in following up on the developments of global forums.
President of the Afro-Middle East Centre, Prof. Naim Jena, also presented a case study about “African Countries” pointing out that ‘Israel’ is actively working in the African continent to win its support in international forums.
He talked about the relations between African countries and Palestinians through history and the Israeli attempts to devastate this relationship for decades, pointing out that Israel had built ties with some African countries and parties in the past years, even if no diplomatic relations were between them.
Institutions of civil society
In the second session, the Deputy Director-General of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Hamdi Shaqoura, talked about the role the Palestinian civil society institutions play in influencing the international community’s position towards Palestine and the Israeli efforts to undermine this role.
Saqqara said that “the de-legitimization of Palestinian rights is rooted in the Zionist project before the establishment of Israel, a state established on de-legitimization and ethnic cleansing and did not see any existence of the Palestinian people.”
He touched upon the Israeli attack on Palestinian civil society organizations as 6 of them are classified as “terrorists,” saying that this attack reflects the influential role of those organizations in confronting its plans to fragment Palestine, exposing the Israeli narrative and pursuing Israeli war criminals.”
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Development Ghazi Hamad spoke about the impact of the Arab normalization on voting in favor of the Palestinian cause, clarifying that “Israel has put a significant effort to color its criminal image, added to its strong and strategic relations with the West.”
He continued by saying that “Israel was working hard to influence the Arab world,” noting that the United States had compelled some Arab countries to normalize their relations with ‘Israel,’ taking advantage of the so-called “Iranian threat.”
The organizers read the significant recommendations at the end of the symposium, including the need to end the split between Palestinian resistance factions, restore the Palestinian unity, develop a national strategy to confront the deterioration of the diplomatic relations and work on highlighting the racist apartheid state and pressure towards adopting a boycott of ‘Israel’ and imposing international sanctions on it.
Activating popular diplomacy, enforcing the official diplomatic policy to act in such critical circumstances, and launching legal efforts to besiege the occupying state were also recommendations.