Specialists Discuss Voting Behavior in United Nations Institutions Toward Palestinian Cause

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.

CIR: European Parliament decision on curricula extortion in favor of legitimizing Zionist presence on our land

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) expressed its strong condemnation of the European Parliament’s decision yesterday, in which the parliament condemned the Palestinian educational curricula, claiming that they are inciting.


The CIR said in a statement Monday that the parliament’s decision is an extortion, aimed at depriving Palestinian education of the financial support provided by European countries and international institutions.


“The decision is an attempt to imped the process of building the Palestinian state and its educational institutions, and most importantly to delegitimize the Palestinian struggle, and prevent Palestinian generations from learning their history”, the council added.


The Council said that the European Parliament’s decision comes in compliance with Israeli pressures and allegations, while ignoring the monitoring of Israeli curricula, which are rife with racism and calls for hatred and violence to the last detail.


The Council warned that this biased policy will not serve security and stability. “We call on the Parliament to reverse its decisions and support just Palestinian rights in harmony with international law, notably the right of generations of the Palestinian people to know their history of struggle, to resist occupation, and to achieve freedom and independence.

CIR congratulates Sinn Féin on historic victory in North Ireland elections

Council on International Relations-Palestine (CIR) congratulated Sinn Féin party on a historical electoral victory in Northern Ireland.

In a congratulatory message sent by the Chairman of the Council, Dr. Basem Naim, to the party leadership, the CIR said: “This victory confirms your party’s rooting in the consciousness and minds of the brotherly Irish people and the importance of your struggle for independence and unity.”

The council expressed its hope that this victory would constitute additional support for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence, adding: “Your victory gives us hope that the struggle of the Palestinian people will lead to achieving their national goals, and establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, that supports Palestinian rights, hailed a “new era” Saturday for Northern Ireland as it captured the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time in a historic win.

CIR: We warn against Lazzarini’s statements that lay ground for undermining UNRWA

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) warned against the recent statements of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr Philippe Lazzarini, in which he indicated the services could be provided by other institutions on behalf of the UNRWA


The CIR said in a statement issued, Sunday, that these statements issued by the head of the UN agency establish the diversion of UNRWA from its basic mission, a goal that the Israeli occupation has long sought over the past years.


In its statement, the Council rejected the Commissioner’s statements, demanding that he issues an official statement to clarify the reality of these trends.

“We recall the UNRWA function for which it was established, which is to provide relief and employment for Palestinian refugees until they return to their homes in accordance with UN Resolution 194”, the CIR added.


The Council emphasized that the Palestinian refugee issue is not only a humanitarian issue, but rather a political one, adding: “Their issue is fundamentally linked to the return of the refugees to their homes. Limiting their problem to the human dimension is a serious matter that may threaten to explode the situation.”


The Council called on the Commissioner-General to retract these statements, and put pressure on the international community, which caused the Palestinian refugee problem by recognizing the state of the Israeli occupation, to solve the financial crisis the agency has been suffering from for years.

CIR extends condolences to South Africa over flood victims

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) offered deep condolences to South Africa over the flood victims that struck KwaZulu-Natal province.

The tragic incident has left scores of people dead and wounded and damaged facilities, homes and infrastructure in the area.

In a statement, the CIR extended to the South African people and the families of the victims sincere condolences.

“We wish a speedy recovery to all the injured, and express our solidarity with you in this crisis, and we stand by your side to face the effects of this disaster. We are confident in your ability to overcome this”, the CIR added.

At least 259 people were killed in South Africa on Wednesday as heavy rains and floods hit the eastern cost of the country, damaging roads and destroying houses.

CIR: Israeli Violations against Palestinian children require firm stance from int’l community

On the Palestinian Child’s Day,

CIR: Israeli Violations against Palestinian children require firm stance from int’l community


The Council on International Relations – Palestine said that the ongoing violations of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian children are no secret to anyone, in light of the figures published by the Commission of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs.


The commission explained that since the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 occupied, the Israeli occupation has arrested 50,000 Palestinian children, and that the occupation targets Palestinian children, like adults, without regard to their privacy or the protection they enjoy under international humanitarian law.


On the Palestinian Child’s Day, which falls on the 5th of April every year, the CIR said: “These violations against our children constitute ongoing war crimes at time when “Israel” is trying to market itself as an oasis of democracy and human rights in the region.”


The Council called on the international community to intervene to stop these serious violations, to exert maximum pressure on the occupation and to impose sanctions on it in order to retract these criminal policies.

CIR welcomes UNHRC report accusing “Israel” of apartheid

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) welcomed the report issued by The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, concluding that the situation in Israel and the occupied territories amounts to apartheid.

In a statement issued, Thursday, the CIR stressed the importance of the report, which is added to many reports issued by international organizations accusing the occupying power of committing the crime of apartheid.

The council considered the report a victory for the Palestinian right, and a victory for the victims of the continuous daily Israeli aggression in the Palestinian territories.


“The importance of this report is that it was issued by the largest international organization in the world. The report boosts the global campaign to end Israeli apartheid, up to the moment of a comprehensive boycott of the occupying power, similar to the boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa,” the council added.


The Council called on the international community to take a decisive and bold decision to adopt these reports, and to impose sanctions on the occupying power to reverse its criminal policies, end the occupation and give the Palestinians their rights.


In a 19-page report submitted on Tuesday, Michael Lynk said Israeli Jews and Palestinians lived “under a single regime which differentiates its distribution of rights and benefits on the basis of national and ethnic identity, and which ensures the supremacy of one group over, and to the detriment of, the other”.

In honor of his supportive stances for Palestine… a memorial ceremony in Gaza for the South African fighter Desmond Tutu

The Council on International Relations-Palestine (non-governmental) organized, on Monday, a memorial service for the struggler Desmond Tutu, one of the symbols of the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.


Monday, the Council on International Relations-Palestine (non-governmental) organized a memorial ceremony for Desmond Tutu, one of the symbols of the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.


The ceremony was held at Rashad Al-Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza City, with the participation of South African and Palestinian personalities.


Tutu died at the age of 90 on December 26, 2021.


Intercontinental struggle


The South African ambassador to Palestine, Sean Edward Bienfeldt, praised Tutu’s virtues.


And he said, in a speech remotely, via the Zoom application, that Tutu was a spiritual leader, “with a strong tongue and pen, speaking loudly against injustice, and in support of justice, equality and humanity.”


The ambassador added, “He was a resistance in the face of hegemony and exclusivity, always striving to strengthen the role of international activists.”


He stressed that his country will remain on the side of “the oppressed who suffer from occupation, until they restore the stolen human dignity.”


The anti-apartheid activist Reverend Allan Boesak, a companion of the late Tutu, said that Palestine was, and still is, in particular, close to the hearts of the people of South Africa.


“Thank you for honoring my late friend Tutu and for showing him such love”, he added, saying that solidarity with the Palestinians is always present in the hearts of Africans, and that South Africa always stands by Palestine.


Mr. Boesak said: “In South Africa, we see Israel as an apartheid state, and there is no doubt about that, and its practices have surpassed those of the apartheid regime in South Africa.”


“Tutu showed great courage describing Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice as war criminals. Tutu will remain an example of courage and standing up to injustice,” he concluded.


For his part, Zwelville, a member of parliament and grandson of Nelson Mandela, an icon of the struggle against the defunct apartheid regime, said, “Today we stand united in South Africa and Palestine, in our stance against occupation and apartheid, as the best tribute to the late Tutu, and his courageous stances on the Palestinian cause.”


He added in a speech via “Zoom” that “Tutu is no longer among us, but the cause that he defended and fought for will remain until Palestine is liberated.”


Mandela’s grandson explained that the struggle for Palestine had reached “a decisive crossroads,” calling for the need to “intensify global solidarity around the world to combat the apartheid regime in Palestine.”


“There are similarities between the two apartheid regimes, whether it was in South Africa or what still exists in occupied Palestine,” he added.


The grandson Mandela also condemned the world’s opposition to the Russian intervention in Ukraine in exchange for “their silence on 7 decades of occupation, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and apartheid in Palestine.”


He called on the world to listen to “the cries of those who have no voice, and to respond to the suffering of those who are marginalized through the media, and who suffer from occupation.”


Mandela’s grandson also demanded to redouble “solidarity efforts to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the largest moral support we can provide to the internal resistance in Palestine.”


The fight against racial discrimination


In turn, Basem Naim, President of the Council on International Relations-Palestine, said, “It (Palestine) lost the fighter Tutu, who was famous for his stubborn struggle against racial discrimination, for justice and for the oppressed in South Africa and around the world.”


“The high moral vision enjoyed by the (late) South African fighter made him very urgent to speak about tolerance, peace, truth, justice and equality,” he said in a speech during the ceremony.


The head of the council explained that Tutu was one of the first to accuse the “Zionist entity” of practicing “a policy of racial discrimination, in 2002.”


He also said, “(Tutu) likened the Israeli policy of racial discrimination to the policy that prevailed” in his country, considering that Israeli violence will only generate “more hatred and mutual violence.”


Naim praised South Africa’s efforts to prevent Israel from obtaining “observer” membership in the African Union.


In this context, Khaled Al-Batsh, coordinator of the Follow-up Committee in the National and Islamic Forces Coalition in Gaza, praised Tutu’s virtues.


In a speech during the ceremony, he said, “The titles of persecution and injustice experienced by both the peoples of South Africa and Palestine were similar, including murder, aggression, land confiscation and occupation.”


He denounced what he called “the imbalance and duplicity of the countries of the world, in dealing with various issues, in favor of Israel and the United States, including the injustice of the occupied peoples.”


Naim called on the people of South Africa to “continue to stand by their Palestinian counterpart, against the policy of apartheid until they reach their goal of freedom, return and independence.”


At the end of the ceremony, Yahya Al-Sarraj, mayor of Gaza, announced that one of the halls of the Rashad Al-Shawa Cultural Center was named “Desmond Tutu” in appreciation of his supportive stances for Palestine.


CIR denounces Israeli decision not to allow UN human rights probe into Gaza

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) denounced the Israeli occupation decision not to allow a special commission formed by the United Nations’ top human rights body to the Palestinian Territories to investigate the crimes committed in the aggression on the Gaza Strip in May 2021


In a statement issued Saturday, the Council considered this ban as an attempt to abort the work of the commission and obstruct international efforts that seek justice for the victims, hoping that this ban would not cause the commission to find out the whole truth in unconventional ways.


The CIR pointed out that this new old position, where the occupation prevented many commissions before that, expresses the fear of the Israeli occupation and its criminal leaders from the work of these commissions, and exposes its ongoing crimes against the Palestinians, which leads to holding it accountable for them according to United Nations standards.


The Council called on the United Nations to declare its official position clearly towards the occupation’s obstruction of the commission’s work and to hold it responsible for impeding international efforts to investigate its crimes.


The Gaza-based body also called on the Human Rights Council, which formed this commission, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to exercise the necessary international pressure so that the commission can reach the Gaza Strip and begin its work from the scene of the crime.

CIR welcomes Amnesty report, calls for imposition of int’l sanctions on Israeli occupation

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) welcomed the report issued today by Amnesty International, in which it said Israeli policies against Palestinians amount to apartheid.


The CIR said in a statement issued Tuesday, that the Amnesty report cancels the immunity provided by the international community to “Israel” for decades, by turning a blind eye to these crimes and violations it commits on a daily basis.


“”Israel’s” campaign against the report prior to its issuance is a failed attempt to cover up its crimes”, The council added, “the Israeli war against human rights and legal organizations has become visible, a war that aims to obscure any evidence of violations of the occupation.”


The Council stated that the successive reports of human rights organizations accusing “Israel” of being an apartheid state requires international recognition of this reality in the Palestinian territories, and to stop turning a blind eye to it.


The Gaza-based body called on the international community to impose sanctions on the apartheid “Israel”, similar to the actions done against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The CIR called on as well the Arab countries to stop the wave of normalization with this fascist racist entity.


“Israel” is carrying out “the crime of apartheid against Palestinians” and must be held accountable for treating them as “an inferior racial group”, Amnesty International says in a new report, joining the assessment of other rights groups.


Released on Tuesday, the 280-page report by the leading rights group details how Israeli authorities enforce a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinians.